EVERYDAY HEROES: Keys sports announcer immersed in community

May 15—KEYS — A Keys Public Schools stadium announcer has made his voice and actions known through various community activities.

Jamie Houston has lived in Keys for the past 30 years, and has helped in various capacities, from school functions to going on calls with the fire department.

Houston got involved with the Keys Volunteer Fire Department in 1986, which led to his working in EMS for 10 years. Houston said he likes knowing he has made a difference in someone's life.

"My own motto I came up with a long time ago was, 'If you're going to live in a community, you should be a part of the community somehow,'" Houston said.

Another way he helps those in the area is by getting involved with Keys Public Schools by donating financially to clubs and activities and just being present at events like graduation.

Many may recognize Houston just from his presence, but others may also know him by his voice. Houston has been the announcer for Keys Cougars basketball and football for the past decade, and has what he calls "the gift of gab."

"Some people like to say I like to hear myself talk," Houston said. "As an avid supporter of Keys football — and just Keys High School in general — I was approached, and at the time, the previous announcer had stepped down — and of course, I was at the football games, anyhow. I was asked about doing it and was hesitant at first, but now I would be lost if I wasn't doing that every Friday night."

Houston is also heavily involved in the FFA and agriculture programs at Keys, even though his family was not initially described as an "ag family." After Houston's daughter got involved, though, Houston and Darrell Hood started hosting a jackpot that raises funds for the Cherokee County Junior Livestock Auction.

The Keys Baptist Church Livestock Show — an October sheep-and-goat jackpot and January pig jackpot — has now celebrated 10 years of helping ag kids at the livestock auction. Houston said one of the things that pushes him to keep putting on the jackpots is that they share the Gospel at the livestock show through various speakers.

"We have seen lives be changed, where people have accepted Christ at those, and that's probably our biggest reason. But it's just loving on people — and not just me, but we as a church family," Houston said.

Whether he is known by a student for his gift of gab or through his work with FFA, Houston has remained a supportive presence for Keys students all the way to graduation.

"We have the Keys High School graduation coming up this Friday, and I personally don't know a single kid or student who is graduating," Houston said. "A lot of them know me just from sports or other activities, but [I don't know] somebody that I can say, 'Hey, their parents are a friend of mine,' but I think I have been to almost every high school graduation. Once again, that's just supporting the community, and I think if you're going to live in a community, make it known that you live there and just support it in some way."