Helping Hands: West Texas History Comes to Life

Lubbock, TX - If you grew up on the South Plains you probably went on a field trip to the National Ranching Heritage Center to learn all about Texas history.

But did you know all of the people you interact with at the Heritage Center are volunteers?

And these volunteers know a lot about the history of West Texas.

If you spend just a few minutes with John Levacy, you'll feel like you're back in the 1800's.

He's been a Ranch Host at the National Ranching Heritage Center for the past 28 years, showing people just what it was like to live in Texas back in the day.

"The structures out on the site they're not just rock and dirt and boards," Levacy explains. "Those are physical reminders of the people who lived worked, and dreamed and settled the country as they wrote their page in the history of the west."

But he doesn't do it all on his own. Levacy is one of about 130 volunteers who help transform these 20 acres into living history.

They know their facts and even wear the periodic clothing to give people the real experience.

"There are lots of activities that are period to the times that we get to demonstrate to the people," Levacy said. "I do leather work and wood carvings. I enjoy sharing my knowledge of the West and how it was settled."

Not only does he get to do something he enjoys, but he knows he's making a difference to complete strangers.

"We have visitors from all over the world and all over the United States," explains Levacy. "About 60,000 visitors a year will come through the Center."

"My picture is scattered all over the world," Levacy laughs. "They may not know who I am but it's scattered all over the world."

And with every single visitor he hopes they'll tell others about the rich history that makes West Texas what it truly is.

"We have real opportunities to share the message of the Ranching Heritage Center with people who might not get the chance to get to see what it's really like," Levacy said.

The National Ranching Heritage Center is at 3121 4th Street in Lubbock. 

It's free but donations are always welcome. 

Find out more information here.

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