Cooke, Fannin, Grayson and Texoma “Better Leader” award recipients were recognized at the Texoma Council of Government’s 2019 Annual Event recently.


“Each year we set aside time during our annual event to give recognition to some remarkable individuals whose passion drives them to improve quality of life in our communities in meaningful ways,” Executive Director Eric M. Bridges said in a written statement. “Their selfless accomplishments and contributions are humbling and very deserving of this honor.”


The recipients of the awards are as follows: Mrs. Leslie Nichols, Cooke County; Mr. Wayne Moore, Fannin County; Mr. & Mrs. Jon & Bev Talbott, Grayson County; and Mark Anderson, Texoma Regional Better Leader.


Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley, TCOG’s board president, stated, “I want to congratulate the award recipients and thank them for their hard work and commitment to our region. We are fortunate to have countless volunteers that dedicate themselves to improving lives and strengthening our region.”


Leslie Nichols is a 45-year resident of Gainesville. She has volunteered for numerous organizations who needed help with raising operational funds, building funds or any special programs which focused on children. Leslie worked for the Gainesville Independent School District for 24 years as an ESL teacher and also as director of the GISD Education Foundation before retiring in 2011. Her civic and volunteer engagement includes service on the Gainesville ISD Athletic Booster Club, Key Club, and the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, Nichols contributed significantly while volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club of Cooke County on the Building Great Kids Capital Campaign, the Littlest Angel Christmas Drive, and the B.U.G.: Bring Up Grades Program. Nichols has also served in the Gainesville Kiwanis Club as director, officer and club president, and was selected as Kiwanian of the Year.


Nichols’ motto has always been, “it’s all about the kids!” An example of her all-in attitude is with the Family Crisis Shelter known as Abigail’s Arms. During her tenure on the board where she currently serves as board president, Nichols has helped raise over $2 million for a debt-free facility that allows families to escape family violence and feel safe. Nichols’ involvement in the community has helped make Gainesville a better place for all who live in the area.


A native to Bonham, Wayne Moore spent most of his adult life in Arlington. However, after 15 years with the Arlington Fire Department and an additional 10 years administering Federal programs in the Community Development program, Moore retired and moved back to Bonham with his wife, Brenda, in 1991. It was then that they purchased and restored eight old homes, operating one of them as a bed & breakfast for nine years.


Moore served as mayor pro-tem on the Bonham City Council from 2000-2012 before taking a five-year break to provide elder care for his aging mother-in-law and now serves in the at-large position on the Council since 2017. He has also served on the board of the Bonham Housing Finance Corporation, Bonham Economic Development Corporation, Texoma Area Paratransit System, Texoma Council of Governments, Bonham Housing Authority, and the Bonham Area Chamber of Commerce.