It was in 1975 that First Lady of Kilgore Kay Castles was asked to pledge Beta Sigma Phi.
She knew it was a social group, service-oriented. At that point, she wasn’t thinking about what it would mean to her more than four decades later, but she knew it would have an impact on her life.
“That’s 45 years ago and I’m still in Beta Sigma Phi,” Castles told sorority members and guests gathered in St. Luke’s United Methodist Church for the 2019 First Lady of Kilgore Banquet April 5. “One thing it did for me was it opened the door to community service, and I truly learned what community service was – how to do it, how to enjoy doing it and the joy that it brought me.”
That joy persists today as Castles – alongside her husband of 30 years, David – continues serving her community in a variety of ways. From the Kilgore Rotary Club to mentoring, outreaches at First Presbyterian Church, Evergreen Garden Club, educational outlets and more, Castles is still involved in giving back to the community she’s known since moving here at 10 years-old.
Now, she serves the community as its First Lady.
“We are glad to have you here as we build our quilt of friendship,” Cynthia Siebert told the crowd last week, “and add our 71st First Lady to our list of First Ladies of Kilgore.”
Castles can take notes from 2018 First Lady Debbie McCubbin, who thanked the group for their support and friendship as she closed her year.
From riding in the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade to attending the 2019 Sweetheart Banquet, “It was a fun time,” McCubbin said, even though the past year also included the deaths of several First Ladies: Nina Fern Nichols, Ellen Watson and, this month, Latane Speer. “We’re all getting older but we still can be so kind to each other. That’s what I love – this group is kind.”
Taking on the mantle, Castles is eager for the year ahead, another year with Beta Sigma Phi.
“It is pretty exciting to be here,” she added, “to be a part of this group.”