For North Texas native Ruth York, impacting her community and advancing liberty doesn’t have to mean grand speeches or massive crowds—it often looks like simply showing up to a meeting or writing a thank-you card.
Ruth was born a few miles from Cisco, Texas, a small town a couple of hours west of Dallas. She’s been married to her husband, Joey, for 42 years, and together they have eight children and 21 grandchildren, most of whom live nearby.
Amid her wonderful, family-filled life, Ruth still had a passion for educating her family and community about their precious God-given rights.
She put that passion into action roughly a decade ago, when she simply went to a local meeting of a conservative group that would later become the Tea Party Patriots of Eastland County.
“I just went and enjoyed the ride, heard interesting speakers, and learned a lot,” Ruth said.
In 2014, as the group became more organized with its own bylaws, which she helped with, Ruth also found herself unexpectedly asked to be the vice president, something she initially thought she was too busy or not fit for. Yet Ruth found it actually opened a whole new array of opportunities for her to educate and encourage her neighbors: she helped contact speakers to come present to the group, coordinated events, and even appeared on a local radio station.
“I discovered it was really fun. It was a huge avenue for getting acquainted with other liberty-minded people,” she said. “I feel like [the radio interviews] are a benefit to the community, certainly to our organization. … It’s been very helpful to have that time slot to address some of the different current issues.”
In 2015, Ruth began a new venture called The Grateful Texan, where she simply writes notes of appreciation to elected officials who do something beneficial. She said it began when she saw State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford), known for his bold outspokenness on liberty-advancing causes, getting “lambasted” at the capitol by other representatives.
“I felt like he was acting on my behalf, even though he’s not my representative, and I just wanted him to know someone appreciated him,” she said. “So I would send him cards and just sign them ‘a grateful Texan’ because he obviously didn’t know me from anyone else.”
Ruth began to see the true impact it made when Stickland actually came to Cisco to speak at a meeting and told the story about getting the cards. Not only were they meaningful in uplifting him to continue fighting, but they encouraged every one of his staff who saw them.
“So I thought, maybe this is something we should try to do on a larger scale,” Ruth said, describing how many good representatives who get elected need help when they go to the Austin “swamp.” They need reminders to hold fast to their principles and causes, and encouragements that someone is noticing and appreciating when they act boldly and beneficially.
“So we started The Grateful Texan, and all you do to join is sign up—there’s no cost. And in return, you receive a daily or weekly text or email that has the cause to celebrate, the address of the person, and maybe a link to get more information on the issue and why we’re thanking them,” Ruth explained.
“I just want people to send heartfelt notes of gratitude or prayer to someone who’s doing a good and noteworthy thing,” she added. “It’s mostly focused on the politics and elected officials in Texas, but it goes beyond that. We send a number of notes to the president and others, whatever issue or person catches our notice. … It’s been really fun, and it’s great when you get a call back from someone who says thank you or that it made their day.”
Not only do the thank-you cards encourage the elected officials who are in the fight, but The Grateful Texan’s text and email alerts help educate the public on issues that might’ve escaped their notice.
In addition to those initiatives, Ruth also is involved in her church’s “salt and light” ministry, which helps educate and empower the congregation to be active voting citizens, and she recently began essentialcitizens.org, an “information hub” for Eastland County citizens during the coronavirus shutdowns.
Ruth reiterated that in everything she’s become involved in, her desire is to make others aware of their God-given rights and what’s happening around them that could threaten them.
“I think this lockdown has shown that we don’t really know what our rights are,” Ruth said. “I think going into this situation, we were willing to do pretty extraordinary things to keep our fellow countrymen safe—ourselves, too. But it has become something more and is really making those in our county suffer even though we are low-risk and have only five confirmed cases of the virus.”
Ruth’s advice to those wondering how they can do something about what’s happening around them? Start by simply showing up.
“Find a conservative group. Walk in. It’s gonna be a friendly bunch of patriots. Take a chair and open up your ears. It’s not that hard,” she said. “There’ll be someone there who will have an idea of what you can do.”
In her free time, Ruth enjoys spending time with her children and many grandchildren, playing and writing music, and being active in a Cisco writer’s club.