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NET RMA Announces Third Annual Linda Thomas Safe Driving Scholarships Winners

$1,000 awards go to 10 high school seniors in Northeast Texas

ASHTON HAYNES … A Gilmer high school senior is among the area students being honored for their efforts to promote safe driving among their peers. North East Texas Regional Mobility (NET RMA) is announcing today the 10 winners across East Texas of its annual safe driving scholarships. The scholarship winners include Ashton Haynes, a senior at Gilmer High School. In his winning essay to apply for the Linda Thomas Safe Driving Scholarship, Ashton talked about being involved in a car accident where the driver that struck his family’s vehicle was distracted and how he has since spoken out on the subject.

(Tyler, TX) – The North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NET RMA) announced the recipients for its third annual Linda Thomas Safe Driving Scholarship. The scholarship awarded $1,000 each for 10 high school seniors in NET RMA counties throughout northeast Texas.

The scholarship promotes safe driving practices among local high school students and the Northeast Texas community. Winners were selected based on safe driving essays along with academic and extracurricular achievements.

Each application was evaluated by the Safe Driving Scholarship Committee made up of NET RMA board members on the Community Relations Committee.

“We’re truly inspired by the record number of thoughtful scholarship submissions this year from such impressive high school students,” said Jason Ray, NET RMA Board and Community Relations Committee Member. “Our winners represent a talented group of students from all parts of the NET RMA footprint. From a professional pilot to a pipe/structural welder along with those pursuing medical, engineering and business degrees, these young adults are poised to become the next generation of leaders. We are proud to play a part in helping them on their life journeys.”

Linda Thomas Safe Driving Scholarship winners include:

Bowie County

  • Jaiden Darden – Maud High School

Gregg County

  • Lillian Purdum – Longview High School
  • Janis Phu – Pine Tree High School
  • Thomas M. Barker – Sabine High School

Kaufman County

  • Hope Wright – North Forney High School

Smith County

  • Ainsley Anderson – Whitehouse High School
  • Rushil Sajjan – Tyler Legacy High School

Upshur County

  • Ashton Haynes – Gilmer High School

Van Zandt County

  • Barrett Martin – Edgewood High School

Wood County

  • Lane Lewis – Winnsboro High School

Student essays included thoughts about driving laws, ideas on new technologies to limit cell phone use on the road, and personal stories on how distracted driving impacted their life. You can meet the winners and find their essays at

Recipients will be able to use scholarship funds for tuition, fees, books, room, board or other expenses required by their college or university.

About the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NET RMA)

The NET RMA is an independent government agency created to accelerate the development of transportation projects in North East Texas. Our mission is to implement transportation solutions that will enhance the quality of life and the economic environment in our area. The NET RMA is governed by a 21-member board of directors that represents each of the member counties: Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Kaufman, Panola, Rusk, Smith, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood. Texas RMAs were made possible through an initiative passed by the State Legislature in 2001. The NET RMA was established in October 2004. For more information visit,

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