Retired Councilwoman JoAnn Preas was recognized for over 18 years of service and dedication on the City of Cooper Council. A decorative bench has been placed near the Pagoda on the downtown Square in Cooper in her honor. During a Council meeting on Monday, July 10, Mayor Darren Braddy noted that Preas has been a true servant of Cooper and that a plaque will be attached to the bench inscribed with the verse Matthew 23-11, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”
“I was really surprised by the honor,” said JoAnn Preas. “I enjoyed being on the City Council.” She was the first woman elected to the Cooper City Council.
“I prayed about it every time I ran,” said Preas, who didn’t actually grow up in Cooper. “I was surprised I was elected. The guys [she served with over the years] always treated me with the utmost respect and valued my opinion. Working with strong people with the military and understanding the chain of command gave a positive influence on my decision making and made for good exchanges. I felt like I represented every person as a whole.” She and her late husband moved here in 1965.
“We must shop locally and support our businesses,” she emphasized.
Her background has included working for the Corp of Engineers on the Cooper Lake project, 30 years with a governmental defense company, 10 years with Texas A&M University-Commerce International Studies office, and Professional Land Title Company before finally retiring officially due to open heart surgery.
“It has been a really great life,” added Preas. “Who knew a girl growing up on a farm picking cotton would have ever had all these experiences – only in America. I’m excited for Darren. He is a people-person, open-minded and gives 110 percent. His heart is in the right place as God wants it. He will be patient with people and do the right thing.”
During her tenure she has seen the changes – from a new fire truck for the Cooper Volunteer Fire Department to protecting the historic bricks that line the Square. She hopes the entrances to the City of Cooper will see improvement. She is proud of the work the Cooper Clean-Up Crew is doing and leaving a positive impact on the community. She is looking forward to seeing growth.