When the city opened its first public drive-thru coronavirus testing site at Butler Stadium last March, Cory Worden volunteered to serve on the frontlines of the site. Worden understood the risks, but he also knew his background in disease prevention would be an asset to the city’s coronavirus safety response in the initial months of the pandemic.
It’s not the first time Worden, a safety advisor for the city’s Human Resources Department, has lent his time and talent to ensure the safety of others. Worden often volunteers his time and expertise outside of work to national safety organizations, presenting on relevant safety topics year-round to national audiences. His volunteer efforts are helping to save lives across the U.S.
Worden is not alone in his community volunteerism and superior service to the city. Five other city employees also stand out. These employees have mentored youth, raised funds for lifesaving services, organized Personal Protective Equipment and food distribution during the pandemic, worked to empower women and young girls, and helped fellow Houstonians with water and food distributions after the devastating winter storm in February.
Their volunteerism and service to the city earned them a 2021 Bravo Award, the highest recognition a city employee can receive. While we can’t celebrate with an in-person ceremony, we can still honor these employees and tell their stories.
Here are your 2020 Bravo winners:
Cherrelle Duncan, Chief of Staff, Houston City Council District F, Office of Council Member Tiffany D. Thomas
Cherrelle Duncan believes in community. Her volunteerism has a broad reach across Houston. It has helped families navigate tough times during the pandemic. Through her volunteerism with such nonprofits as Heads Up Houston, the Houston Area Urban League and the Texas A&M Former Students Association, she has helped to coordinate PPE and food and water distributions to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her efforts helped more than 300 families in District F during the past year. Serving in various roles for these nonprofit organizations, which focus on empowering our youth and strengthening the economic footprint of Houston’s African American community, Duncan is creating long term change throughout our city.
Cory Worden, Safety Advisor, Human Resources Department
Safety is key for Cory Worden. His service on the frontlines of the city’s coronavirus safety response to the COVID-19 pandemic is helping to save lives. Since the onset of the pandemic, Worden has worked with city departments and city partners to develop, plan and implement safety protocols and COVID-19 response functions. Despite the long hours he spends mitigating risks for the city, he still volunteers his time to write, plan, and oversee safety publications for national safety organizations. He freely shares his wealth of knowledge about disease prevention to the National Safety Council, the Association for Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare, and the American Society for Safety Professionals. Within each organization, Worden serves in various volunteer roles, where his efforts to educate people about all aspects of safety have a national reach.
Gabe Cazares, Director, Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities
When the winter storm left thousands of Houston’s without power or access to water, Gabe Cazares stepped up to help. Cazares partnered with CrowdSource Rescue, Operation BBQ Relief, Council Member Abbie Kamin's Office and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities to organize a drive-thru hot meal distribution event to assist those impacted by the devastating winter storm in February. More than 20,000 hot meals, 2,500 cases of water and 12,000 face masks were distributed to 5,250 families. Many of those families were part of Houston’s disability community, which Cazares serves daily in his role for the city. In the days after the winter storm, He worked well beyond normal work hours to help with winter storm relief efforts. He also serves as the Legislative Committee Chair for the National Federation of the Blind, a nonprofit organization that coordinates programs, services, and resources to ensure equal rights and opportunities for blind children and adults.
Janice Weaver, Director, Mayor’s Office of Community Relations
Janice Weaver believes in paying it forward. After being diagnosed with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a rare blood disease that can lead to fatal blood clots, she was hospitalized for a month. She received 500 units of plasma from caring donors. After her harrowing experience, Weaver made it her mission to help others suffering from the same disease. Each year, she volunteers her time to coordinate the Surviving, Thriving and Mobilizing blood drive held in partnership with the Gulf Coast Blood Center and the KTSU radio station. Her most recent blood drive resulted in the donation of 72 units of blood to be used for lifesaving medical procedures. Weaver also volunteers her time to KTSU radio station’s Fall Telethon, helping to raise funds for the variety radio station that is based on the campus of Texas Southern University, an Historic Black College and University located in Houston.
Melissa Saldivar Hamilton, Administrative Assistant, Houston Police Department
It’s all about the youth for Melissa Saldivar Hamilton. For the past five years, Saldivar Hamilton has volunteered her time with the Ridge Point High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC program. Although her two sons have graduated from the program, she continues to serve as a chaperone on trips and drill meets, helping to find speakers for classroom presentations, documenting cadets’ participation, and assisting with annual fundraisers. During drill season, Saldivar Hamilton volunteers her weekends starting at 4 a.m. on Saturdays to help document drill meets. Since 2016, she has volunteered 350 hours annually to help cadets be successful in the program. For 16 years, Saldivar Hamilton has volunteered with the Houston Police Department’s Honor Guard, singing the national anthem at ceremonies and city events throughout the year.
Sharon Malveaux, Workforce Development Manager, Human Resources Department
Sharon Malveaux has spent nearly two decades letting her faith guide her volunteerism in the community. For 18 years, she has volunteered with the Family Life Christian Center, serving as a board member and Youth Development Specialist. Malveaux also volunteers her time to the Mamie Charity Club, a nonprofit dedicated to uplifting the community. In this volunteer role she mentors local youth. As a volunteer for The Wishing Well Ministry, Malveaux reaches out to young women on a biweekly basis to provide mentorship and prayer. Malveaux also volunteers with Young Mothers Don’t Quit, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering young mothers to earn their high school diplomas and college degrees. Her volunteer work ensures the success of youth across Houston, so they can create a path to independence through mentorship and education.