A Monument to Family

Bill Van Winkle, Shell Deer Park Major Maintenance Manager is a proud Texan with strong family connection to the San Jacinto Monument. This is his story:

Some of my earliest memories as a young boy were visiting the old Van Winkle farm in Shiloh, Texas. The old folks, long gone, would sit on the porch at night and tell us stories about the early day of Texas history. One story they told many times was about my distant relative John Van Winkle who fought in the San Jacinto Battle for Texas Independence and that the farm was built on land he was granted for his service to the Texas Army. In the early 60s, my father, with me in tow, crisscrossed the state of Texas over two years visiting court houses, cemeteries and halls of public records piecing together the Van Winkle family history. It was very clear to me even at my young age that he had tremendous pride in our family history and wanted me to retain the information and develop that same pride.

I cannot remember the first time I visited the San Jacinto Monument, but we must have visited it dozens of times in my childhood. My dad would buy several dozen tacos and we would eat them in the shadow of the monument while I read aloud the and stories inscribed on the four sides. My father was an operator at the old Diamond Alkali plant on Tidal Road during those early days.

My father passed in 1990 before he could see me end up in the later years of my career working at the Shell Deer Park Complex in the shadow of the San Jacinto Monument, the birthplace of Texas. How proud he would have been and how proud I am today to be fortunate and blessed to have a great job at our Shell Deer Park Complex.

I look back fondly on the travels with my father learning about Texas history. I am very grateful for the effort he made in keeping the family legacy alive throughout the years. The family history and legacy tied to the San Jacinto battle meant so much to me that when I decided to propose to my wife, I did so in that very shadow of the San Jacinto Monument I had experienced so many times in my developing years.

#MyShellStory is a campaign asking you to share your story about Shell Deer Park. If you, or your family, have a story about working at the site, with our employees on community boards or if you’ve ever visited the site during family day or a new unit opening event, we’d like to hear it. Post your stories, photos or videos on social media and tag it with #MyShellStory. Not on social media? Send us your story.

You can follow along as our employees share their #MyShellStory by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

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At Shell Deer Park, we are proud to power progress by manufacturing the energy products that fuel our world and are the solutions for our future, all from the historic birthplace of Texas since 1929.