Monday, 28 November 2016 19:51

Service and volunteerism pave path of giving for Bravo winners

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Bravo winners don’t hesitate to take action when it comes to answering the call for service in their community. They enjoy giving back.

And they don't do it for recognition.

They do it to help those who can't help themselves. It’s a striking quality that stands out amongst others and it’s why Marty Haley, Scott Shaunfield and Veronica Hernandez each earned a Bravo award at the May 3 ceremony.

Marty Haley, Senior Mechanical Inspector, Occupancy Division, Public Works & Engineering

Public Works hero helps children in need

While thousands of families open presents on Christmas morning, Marty Haley will be putting on his clown suit. A volunteer Shriner clown, Haley delivers gifts to children at local Shriner hospitals on Christmas morning.

“A lot of these kids come from poor families,” said Haley, a senior mechanical inspector for the Public Works and Engineering Department’s occupancy division.

“Someone has to step and do what’s necessary to see this kids are taken care of.”

Haley’s compassion for children shines through in all his volunteer efforts. A member of the Masonic Lodge, Haley has helped raise more than $40,000 in scholarship funds for local youth through a scholarship program he helped to launch.

“There was a boy who lives in Santa Fe, a good kid with good grades” Haley said. “Family circumstance weren’t going to allow him to go to college,” he said.

 “I found a scholarship program where I could raise money and get the foundation to match the money,” Haley said. “We raised enough money to get him to college.”

“He graduated last year and he's a teacher in Texas City now,” Haley said. “He's the reason I put the scholarship program together.”

Haley also motivates 2nd- through 5th-graders with his Take the Time to Read program, which gifts bikes to top readers.

“I really enjoy being one of those people that can help,” he said.

Last year, Haley helped organize donations for the Fantastic Teeth Club, providing free dental kits to more than 500 1st grade students.

And he urges others to get involved.

“Find a local cause that you can be passionate about and step in,” Haley said. “See what you can do.”

Haley is currently raising money for children living with cerebral palsy and autistic children in Galveston and Brazoria counties.

“Its so worthwhile,” he said.


Scott Shaunfield, Senior Captain, Houston Firefighter Department

First responder helps brother firefighters cope

The loss of life is a terrible tragedy. And when firefighters experience tragedy in the line of duty or are dealing with tragedy in their day-to-day lives, Scott Shaunfield steps in to offer guidance and support.

 “I know what it’s like to need that support,” said Shaunfield of his volunteer work as team coordinator for the Houston Fire Department’s Critical Incident Stress Management Team.

“I have been on the giving and receiving side,” Shaunfield said.

Shaunfield’s role within the CSIM team ensures his fellow firefighters, first responders and their families receive vital services during critical times.

 “We see how important it is to take care of each other,” said Shaunfield of the volunteer members of the CISM team. “We want to help our fellow firefighters and coworkers.”

A 20-year veteran of the HFD, Shaunfield has spent 18 years volunteering on the CISM team, serving as the team coordinator for the last seven of those years.

“I’ve always enjoyed being involved with people,” he said. “When I found the opportunity to help other firefighters it just really felt closer to home.”

“I think in order to sustain any kind of volunteerism you have to appreciate the reward that comes from giving to others without expecting a reward,” he said. “Being able to work as a firefighter and as a paramedic and help others in the community is something I value.”


Veronica Hernandez, Senior Community Liaison, Department of Neighborhoods

Community advocate makes huge impact

Giving back is a family tradition that started with Veronica Hernandez’s father.

“I remember in kindergarten he gave someone a room in our house to stay until they could find a job and place to stay,” said Hernandez, a senior community liaison for the Department of Neighborhoods.

“My father was always helping with food or clothes for others in need,” she said. “I learned from that experience.”

Now, Hernandez is carrying on her father’s tradition of giving back through her role with the city and her volunteerism. Her day-to-day efforts have helped hundreds of residents receive basic needs and necessities.

In times of disaster and outside of her job scope, Veronica translates for Spanish-speaking residents and helps them apply for assistance.

“Being able to the help fill out forms, connect people to different resources, translate for people, and assist those can’t read or write is really satisfying,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez also coordinates public safety efforts to reduce crime and assists with community revitalization projects. Since 1997, Hernandez has volunteered with the Hispanic Ministers Against Crime, helping to organize food donations during the holiday seasons.

“Being able to serve the community and not expect anything back is rewarding,” she said.

“Go to the different community centers and start volunteering,” Hernandez said. “There are a lot of different organizations that need assistance.”

“You just have to have the passion to do it,” she said.