Small Town United Methodist Church Pastor Named Citizen of the Year
By: Roy Maynard. Photo by: David Kapitan, Van Zandt News
For Rev. David Cartwright, being recognized at the grocery store or on a downtown sidewalk is more important than the recognition he received last month, when the Wills Point Chamber of Commerce named him Citizen of the Year. But the Chamber says that the pastor, Rotarian and after-school tutor has made a real difference in the small town of about 3,500.
“David has been very willing to give tirelessly of his time and talents to the city of Wills Point,” says Jana Clark, administrator of the Wills Point Chamber of Commerce. “He’s much loved here. And everyone knows him.”
For Cartwright, that’s the allure of a small town.
“I find it easier to make connections and find ways to plug in,” he said. “I grew up in a town of about 45,000 people and ended up serving in that town at one point. In a small town, you know people. Communities are tighter, and I like that.”
Cartwright was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia, but his wife is from Canton, Texas.
“We came to Wills Point in July 2014 because we wanted to move closer to her family,” Cartwright explained. “And I was blessed to get the appointment here at Russell Memorial Methodist Church. We were excited to get back to a small-town setting.”
It was never a problem to find a way to engage the community. Cartwright has been a Rotarian for many years.
“The Rotary Club is very service-oriented, and it has provided ways for me to be connected to the community,” he said. “One of the ways I like to help is through the local school system, and the Rotary Club does scholarships and teacher grants.”
And through connections made there, the church has developed relationships with the Wills Point school district, creating after-school programs and tutoring opportunities.
“That gives us a way to help kids and families,” Rev. Cartwright said. “I don’t look for things to fill my time; I’m busy. In fact, finding time off can be a little challenging, but that’s okay. It all works out.”
Cartwright has served as president of the Rotary Club, on the board of the Wills Point ISD Education Foundation, and now serves on the board of the Emergency Services District 4. He and wife Rene have four children—Daniel, Elizabeth, Sarah and Johanna. Cartwright has served as a United Methodist pastor for 22 years.
“We think we’re lucky to have him,” said the Chamber’s Jana Clark.