In the search of truth

Galen Scott keeps his keen eye on the political affairs of Parker County.

The Weatherford Democrat would like to introduce our readers to the people behind the print. Through the end of this month, the story of a different editorial staffer will be featured on our Faces page in the Sunday edition.

When people meet Galen Scott, they usually see him sporting a jacket and tie. Many know him as the political affairs reporter for The Weatherford Democrat.

He can be seen at Commissioner’s Court and city council meetings, or buzzing around poll sites at election time.

He spends his days chasing down stories, scooping the competition on all kinds of issues affecting the community.

The personal side of Scott is far from business-stuffy, or the typical suit-and-tie stereotype.

Scott was born in Roswell, N.M., in 1980, and his family moved to Weatherford when he was 6.

His father, James Scott, works in Fort Worth as a petroleum geologist.

“Well, I guess you could say my dad is my mentor,” Scott said. “He’s always been the first one there for any of us, and my favorite thing about him is the fact that he’s usually not wrong — about anything.”

Scott’s mother, Virginia, stayed at home raising him and his brothers, Sam and Ryan.

“My mom taught me to be sensitive,” Scott said. “She taught me that people everywhere have the same kinds of thoughts, emotions and feelings. That may seem like a simple concept, but it’s one many people, in my experience, still don’t understand.”

After graduating from Weatherford High School, Scott began his freshman year majoring in journalism at Texas Christian University.

He acquired his first taste of international travel while attending a global advertising and public relations course in London, where he took a month-long backpacking trip through northern and eastern Europe.

“The experience really opened my eyes to what else was out there,” Scott said. “Hostels are amazing places. America has a hell of a lot going for it, but there are other countries out there, too.”

While struggling academically before his trip to Europe, the experience focused his perception of the need for higher education.

“I guess I finally figured out what they mean by ‘knowledge is power,’” he said. “Though I suppose I’m a fatalist at heart, I am sure that the more you know, the more control you have over your own happiness.”

During his junior year at TCU, Scott signed up for anthropology field work in Belize.

While stationed at a Mennonite farming camp, Scott and other anthropology students from around the country excavated a series of Maya ruins along the Yucatan Peninsula.

When the course was over, Scott traveled briefly through northern Guatemala and fell in love with Central American culture. Upon returning for his senior year of college, Scott and his older brother Sam, began developing the “ultimate trip.”

“At first we were dead set on riding motorcycles all the way down,” he remembered chuckling. “Then, after we talked the idea over with our dad, he convinced us four wheels were probably safer than two.”

As soon as he graduated from college, Scott and his brother bought a 30-year-old Toyota Land Cruiser and crossed into northern Mexico.

It took the pair six months to reach the end of the Pan-American Highway in the Darien Gap, about 30 miles from the Colombian border.

“That was truly the ultimate trip,” he said. “We learned Spanish, climbed volcanoes, scuba dived in old ship wrecks and hung out in rogue surf camps. After a while, we got good at dealing with border crossings and eventually found a rhythm in the most chaotic driving system known to man.”

The culture in Latin America, and especially Mexico, left its mark on Scott.

“One of the most striking aspects of the way people do things down there is the genuine respect everybody has for the very young and very old,” he said. “The little kids are allowed to run around and be kids, and the elderly are considered heads of the family and included in every family decision.”

Almost a year after crossing into Mexico, the brothers returned to the states and headed straight for the mountains of Montana where Scott eventually began working as a Snow Cat operator at Big Sky Ski Resort. Sam returned to the halls of academia and is currently finishing his master’s thesis at the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology.

While home from Montana on a visit to his parents’ house in Weatherford, Scott ran into Chelle Valone, an old friend from high school. The pair embarked on a long-distance relationship, with Scott grooming ski runs in Montana and Valone finishing her anthropology degree at the University of North Texas.

“When we were grooming the runs up there — working the graveyard shift — the crew would idle our Cats at the top of Lone Mountain and watch the sun rise from under the clouds,” he recalled. “It was a carefree and beautiful life, but the truth is, I spent most of the time missing Chelle.”

At the end of the ski season, Scott returned to his roots in Weatherford and began working at his hometown paper.

“I had the training to work as a journalist, but it had been like, three years since I graduated,” he remembered. “When I got hired at the Democrat, it was right in the middle of local elections and a little overwhelming.”

Since he was hired slightly more than a year ago, Scott has developed coverage of the Barnett Shale, issues affecting the Brazos River, and the doings of Parker County’s various taxing entities.

Scott enjoys his job and said the best part of it is finally understanding how the county he grew up in really works.

Eventually, he and Chelle plan on taking the ultimate, ultimate trip. Their sights are set on the continent of Africa.

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