Wednesday, 12 October 2011 by Berneta Peeples
Jerri Gauntt has lived in Belton only 11 years, but look long and hard and the hunt will show that Jerri Gauntt is Belton's most ardent supporter and is working hardest to maintain the beauty and charisma the city has.
"My kids are growing up here and when somebody asks where they are from, they can proudly say BELTON."
Jerri grew up in Elgin and she and two sisters-in-law rarely discuss the two decades ago bi-district football between Elgin and Temple, except to agree that the cheerleading was wonderful. Jerri was an Elgin cheerleader and the Gauntt sisters were whooping it for Temple. It was alright to yell for the Wildcats. Both Temple and Elgin High Schools were and are Wildcats.
Jerri has been employed by the City of Belton for four years. Her major field is writing grant applications for federal and foundation funds for building construction and historic restoration and preservation.
She takes great pride in the revitalization of the National Register Downtown Belton Historic Business District.
"Restoration where possible is exciting, but we have to accept the fact that times have changed and adaptive restoration is necessary," Gauntt said.
Jerri graduated from Elgin High School and as a 16-year-old student, got her first job at a local pharmacy. After graduation she invaded A&M intending to major in chemistry and math. To her great disappointment, she realized that neither science nor math were her greatest fields. After earning her Bachelor's Degree, she looked at going back for a teaching certificate, and her faculty adviser suggeted a Master's Degree.
Jerri's older sister, an agriculture major, pushed her in that direction. Farmers were a part of the family background and she feels that agriculture degree really was well worth it. On graduation, she was offered two jobs, one with the State of Texas and one with Farmers Insurance.
John Gauntt was in the background from early A&M days. Following his mother's family tradition, he finished law school. They got married in 2000 and moved into his great-grandmother's house on North Pearl St. Great-grandma was the late Rose Coppin. John went into the family law firm in Temple and is currently First Assistant in the office of the Bell County Attorney.
Jerri worked for some time for Don Owens, director of Student Services at UMHB.
Jerri and John have a 6-year-old son, John Thomas Gauntt, III and a 4-year-old daughter, Jane Elizabeth.