Kenny Mobbs has helped build some of the most famous landmarks in Kilgore: Driller Park, the Ballpark at KC Commons and the very first Snow Hill for the Christmas celebration. On Monday, the Chamber of Commerce thanked him for his efforts with its highest honor.
The president of K-K Mobbs Construction and longtime community supporter was named Citizen of the Year at the Chamber of Commerce Star Gala on Monday. Mobbs, a Kilgore College graduate, has a history of supporting the Kilgore community and was honored for demonstrating leadership and earning achievements in the name of improving Kilgore.
“The Citizen of the Year award is an honor bestowed upon a Kilgore citizen by the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce,” said Jill McCartney, Chamber of Commerce president, before playing a video of locals praising Mobbs’ commitment to the community. “The Citizen of the Year award will be presented to an individual or organization who exemplifies outstanding leadership and achievement for the betterment of Kilgore, Texas. Some of the criteria for this person include: must have demonstrated outstanding achievement results, a resident, integrity, ethical standing and exude excellence in leadership, monetary support and community service support to area projects or organizations, believes in a cooperative effort, achieves common goals as well as a model for others to emulate. I think that the person that you’re going to hear spoken about on the video in just a second is definitely worthy of all of the above.”
The video included statements from Mobbs’ family, as well as members of the Kilgore community.
“When I think about Kenny Mobbs, I like to think about what President Kennedy said one time. I’ll paraphrase it the way I want to say it. Ask not what your community can do for you; ask what you can do for your community. I think Kenny has that heart. He’s always doing stuff for the community. He’s involved everywhere you go,” said Kilgore Fire Department Chief Johnny Bellows.
“A fun fact is that when I was in the sixth grade, me and him had the same size foot,” said Nate Mobbs, Kenny’s son. “But I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to fill his shoes.”
“When Kenny and I first met, we soon realized that we knew a lot of the same people and had a lot of the same friends, we had just never met,” said Charlotte Mobbs, Kenny’s wife. “I began to ask my friends about him and I couldn’t find a single person that had a bad word to say about him. I quickly learned why.”
As Mobbs was invited to the stage to receive the award, every person in the Devall Ballroom stood and applauded while he walked through the crowd. Several patted him on the back. Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt shook his hand and congratulated him.
“Well, speechless, that’s really the only word I’ve got,” Mobbs said as he took the stage to accept the award. “I love this community. My brothers and I, we were raised in Longview. We love Longview, our parents are there but Kilgore, I’ve been here I guess my whole adult life. We raised our children here. I just love the community, love the people. Thank you for letting us help.”
Mobbs attended KC after graduating Longview High School and supported himself in construction jobs before completing a degree at Texas State Technical Institute in Waco. After founding K-K Mobbs Construction in 1982 with brother Keith, he has supported Kilgore facilities in many construction projects, including at Driller Park and the Ballpark at KC Commons.
He helped construct the Kilgore youth soccer fields and has donated time, equipment and labor to youth and school sports facilities throughout East Texas. He has also donated to KC athletics programs over the years.
In addition to building new facilities for the city, he has volunteered his time when rebuilding after disasters. When wildfires struck Texas in 2011, Mobbs helped the firefighting effort by driving his water truck wherever it was needed.
Mobbs is well-known in the area for his generous donations of delicious food. He regularly volunteers his cooking skills to Kilgore groups and events, including SAFFE Day, KHS sports boosters, the Shakespeare Festival and many more. At the recent KC Party in the Plaza, when rain threatened to ruin the festivities, the K-K Mobbs Construction trailer was there, passing out free barbecue to students and faculty alike. The company also led the project to renovate and beautify the college campus by removing diseased trees in preparation for a visit from the SACS-COC college certification committee.
Earlier this year, Mobbs was inducted into the KC Athletics Hall of Fame and was invited to the 2018 spring graduation to receive the KC Blue Ribbon Medal of Excellence, which is awarded to individuals and organizations who help the school advance its mission of student success. Over the years, Mobbs has given labor and materials to assist in the construction of KC projects.
Recently, Mobbs donated the demolition work to remove the Baptist Student Ministry’s old building from the KC campus to make room for the new building, which is under construction now. In 2016, he was recognized for volunteering to construct an obstacle course for the Stars and Scars Mud Run.
He also serves on the SAFFE Day Board of Directors and has previously served on the boards of the Rusk County Rural Fire District, Rusk County Groundwater Conservation District, Kilgore Chamber of Commerce, Gladewater Round-Up Rodeo Board and several youth organization boards.
“Everybody that comes in contact with him sees the genuine concern and the love in his heart for this community,” Chief Bellows said.