By DAVID SWEARINGEN
EDITOR’S NOTE: Residents of Erath County are very fortunate to have many men and women who make living here safe, many of whom are volunteers. They are Hometown Heroes! These people keep us safe and we owe them our thanks and our respect. THANK YOU!
STEPHENVILLE (November 4, 2016) – In this week’s edition of Hometown Heroes, The Flash would like to introduce you to Jeffery “Chili” Alexander. He has lived in Stephenville since 1991 and employed by the Tarleton State University Police Department since 1992.
Alexander was born on August 2, 1963 in Brady; one of eight children. He grew up in Brady and later graduated from Brady High School in 1982.
While in Brady, he faced some serious health issues as a young boy. When the family still lived in Brady, 8-year-old Alexander got really sick, doctors determined he had polio. Fortunately, he was able to go to the Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas where he had two major surgeries. The first surgery was a “Bone Block” surgery to repair the problem of one leg outgrowing the other. This was performed while he was very young and in elementary school.
For the most part, this fixed his problem. Although, another surgery was required when he was in the seventh grade because one leg was still slightly longer than the other. This time the surgery resolved his issues completely. He continued to periodically visit the Scottish Rite Hospital for check-ups until he graduated high school. He and his family are very grateful to the Scottish Rite Hospital and the Masonic Lodge for all their help.
When asked how he got the nickname Chili, he said in the first grade the kids would make fun of his haircut saying it looked like they used a chili bowl to cut his hair. So, they started calling him “Chili Bowl.” He said a year or so later it was shortened to Chili and just stuck. He said at first he hated it, but he has come to like it after all these years.
Before entering the Police Academy at Tarleton State University, Alexander earned an Associates Degree from Cisco Jr. College in General Studies. He also spent one year at Southwest Texas State studying Sports Medicine. After moving to Stephenville, Alexander attended the TSU Police Academy and graduated in December of 1991.
In January 1992, he was hired by the Tarleton State Police Department where he has been employed ever since and currently holds the rank of Sergeant. Alexander worked on the night shift (11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.) for over 15 years before recently being moved to the evening shift. He now works from 2 to 10 p.m.
Alexander says he loves his job and his favorite part is talking with the people. He said he tries to cut the students some slack when he can. And said he feels kind of like a father figure to some of them, helping them mature and make good choices in their lives.
One of his favorite stories is of two Tarleton students who were heavily involved with the rodeo scene. He said these two students were from Florida and during a return trip they were told by a friend they “had to meet Chili Alexander.” As luck would have it, shortly after the students returned from Florida, one evening they were at the TSU Farm where they were tending to their livestock. Alexander was “making his rounds” and he came in contact with them and they greeted each other. The two students told him of how they were told they “had to meet Chili Alexander.” Mission accomplished.
All of those years on the night shift allowed Alexander to remain active in his kids’ lives. He was able to participate in scouting with them, watch them compete in sports as well as attend all the school assemblies and such.
As an young adult, Alexander also worked a few other jobs. He worked as a welder for a few years and later as a guard at the Eden Detention Center in Eden. Alexander later would enter the TSU Police Academy against his mother’s wishes as she feared for his safety. But Alexander has a cousin who was the Chief of Police in both Forest Hill and Palestine and he was sure it was the life for him, too.
Chili and Shelley Alexander were married in June 1994. Shelley grew up in Iowa Park. They have two sons – Creed and Noble Alexander. Creed and Noble both earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America with their father playing a large part in this as Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader for over 10 years.
Alexander said as a child he wanted to be in Cub Scouts but was not able to because his parents were very busy working and he had no way to get to the meetings. Creed and Noble both are presently attending Texas Tech. Creed is majoring in Marketing and Advertising and Noble is majoring in Nursing and minoring in Spanish. Noble will be spending six weeks in Spain this summer to further his studies in Spanish. Both boys are active at their church in Lubbock. Creed is in a leadership position and Noble plays drums in the praise band.
His life experiances have taken Alexander on several adventures. He once worked along side the U.S. Secret Service as security at the opening of the Bush Library in College Station. He said it was “a pretty cool experiance.” Alexander said he went on a weekend trip with a group from Cisco Jr. College to attend a College Student Government Convention in Galveston in 1985. He had no idea the legendary boxing champion, Muhammad Ali, was also in Galveston for the weekend. Alexander and one of his classmates got to meet Ali when they ran into him in the hotel lobby and even carried his luggage up to his room for him. It just so happened Villanova and Georgetown were playing for the college basketball championship on television at the exact moment they got to Ali’s room. Alexander, his classmate, Ali and one of Ali’s guys ended up watching the game on tv together.
In his spare time, Alexander likes to listen to all types of music and also enjoys playing golf. Since his boys have moved away, he and Shelley try and keep a “movie date” each week and they plan on spending some time traveling in their RV and taking in some of the sights.
Alexander and his wife attend the First Baptist Church of Stephenville as he has done since the early 1990’s. He is currently serves on the Star Council and the Child Welfare Board.
“Treat people the way you yourself want to be treated and you will go far in life,” he concluded.
Jeffery “Chili” Alexander, Stephenville, Tarleton and all of Erath County would like to thank you for your service to your community. May God bless you and keep you safe.