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Sofia Font
Transportation Planner III
Planning and Development, Transportation

Described as resourceful, creative, and always there for others, Sofia Font took it upon herself to be the bridge between those in need and the resources they deserve to have a dignified and healthy life.

With empathy and selflessness, her volunteerism and efforts support immigrant communities living in Houston, working as a conduit for them to access public health programs from the Houston Health Department.

She also helps immigrants improve their language and communication skills in collaboration with the Education For All Foundation, and by bringing visibility to available programs such as English as a Second Language.

Sofia’s efforts also assist and support victims of human trafficking and victims of violence, making sure they receive legal guidance to ensure their rights are protected. As a humanitarian, she knows the importance of physical and emotional health and ensures they receive counseling and mental health services, apart from connecting them with health providers.

Sofia also brings the community together by collaborating with local artists, educators, consulates, and nonprofit organizations to create and promote resources that are accessible and inclusive to non-English speakers and people with disabilities.

Thank you Sofia Font for being the bridge that connects new and vulnerable members of our community with services that improve their well-being.

 

Lee Brown 0018 72Corey Glenn
Public Engagement & Communications Director

City Council, District D

Always willing to help, Corey Glenn is the one that gets the job done. Making new friends everywhere he goes, he establishes genuine connections that allow him to volunteer for different projects and brings people together to help each other.

Corey’s talent as a connector was a perfect match for the Friends of Columbia Tap, a volunteer organization that supports and promotes the four-mile hike-and-bike trail that follows the old Columbia Tap railroad route and connects downtown to the Brays Bayou Greenway Trail. Corey was a significant contributor to the organization, focusing on promoting community engagement to get residents not only to participate but also to feel pride and ownership in enhancing and revitalizing the Columbia Tap Rail-Trail.

Focusing on neighborhood and improvement initiatives, Corey’s collaboration with the South Union Proud Civic Club was crucial to the well-being of the South Union community. He has also been involved with initiatives that support educational and professional development with the Texas Association of Independent Pharmacy Owners benefiting pharmacists and the communities they serve. His collaboration with the Texas Southern University School of Pharmacy and Health Science Alumni Association has strengthened the bond between alumni and current students and enhanced professional development opportunities.

Thank you Corey Glenn for being the neighbor who cares for our community.

 

Jene Cash 0007 72Monika Haupl-Heinz
Senior Airport Services Representative
Houston Airport System, International Services

A true advocate for animal care, Monika Haupl-Heinz dedicates her life not only to saving animals but to protecting their rights and most importantly to finding them a home where they are loved, no matter how many miles away that is.

Her compassion towards animals compelled her to establish the All Breed Rescue Of Texas Inc. nonprofit organization. In collaboration with other agencies, she rescues pets at risk of euthanasia to take them home and take care of them until they find a loving owner.

For 40 years and counting, Monika has collaborated with another nonprofit, Rat Terrier Rescue Canada, transporting dogs in her car to different parts of the country and Canada. Monika personally makes sure the pets get to a loving home. She also rescues dogs and cats from the streets.

Thank you Monika Haupl-Heinz for your compassion and dedication to animal care.

 

Dr Faith Foreman Hays 72Olivera Jankovska
Director of Education and Youth Engagement
Mayor's Office, Education and Youth Engagement 

Supportive, resourceful and self-motivated, Olivera Jankovska knows the importance of cultural diversity and the enrichment it brings to our city.

Her determination has helped create community bonds and partnerships through Sister Cities International, an international non-governmental organization that creates and strengthens partnerships between communities in the U.S. and other nations. Among other things, Sister Cities International establishes "sister cities" that establish agreements of mutual support formally recognized by the civic leaders of those cities.

Olivera’s volunteerism with the multicultural choir International Voices of Houston inspires, educates and brings joy to our community through diverse world music.

With Houston being one of the most diverse cities in the country, Olivera’s commitment to give every culture its deserved representation led her to reach out to the United Macedonian Diaspora and became the International State Representative for Texas bringing more visibility and opportunities to the global community.

She is also a champion of children’s rights and represents UNICEF as a Global Citizen Fellow.

Thank you Olivera Jankovska for embracing diversity and bringing cultures together.

 

Tim Raya 0005 72A.J. Kessinger
Division Manager
Houston Public Works, Transportation & Drainage Operations

Commitment and loyalty describe A.J. Kessinger and his dedication to building fellowships and helping others improve and reach professional goals.

A.J. has been a member of Alpha Rho Chi, a national professional fraternity for architecture and the allied arts, since 2003. He currently serves as board president for National Convention, Contracts and Insurance. His consistency and loyalty have served as an inspiration to student and alumni members. His selfless dedication to volunteerism exemplifies the very essence of leadership. With a passion for service, A.J. started from the bottom and ascended to regional director, then national officer, and now president since 2021.

His passion for service not only enriches his fraternity but also leaves a lasting impact on our community.

Thank you A.J. Kessinger for your remarkable dedication to building brighter futures.

 

Thomas Zachary 72Hanh Nguyen
Administrative Supervisor
Administration & Regulatory Affairs, Operations Division, Records Management Office

Patience is a virtue. Hanh Nguyen personifies this. For more than 10 years, she has volunteered with CAMO Rescue and other animal rescue organizations committed to rescuing and caring for these loyal companions. Hanh embodies the true spirit of friendship and compassion.

Facing challenges and uncertainty with kindness, Hanh goes above and beyond ordinary volunteerism, bringing injured dogs home to nurture them with homemade food, vitamins, medical care for their injuries, and love for them to start healing and eventually find a forever home.

Whether cleaning their beds, walking them, taking pictures for adoption, feeding them, or taking them home, Hanh is always there for them, offering a lifeline to dogs in need, nurturing their physical healing, and restoring their trust in humanity.

Thank you Hanh Nguyen for your efforts not only to save lives but also to bring joy and love to dogs and their future families.

 

 

Thomas Zachary 72Hilary Pircher
Program Assistant
Mayor's Office, Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities

Hilary Pircher does not have the lengthiest tenure among us here today with the City of Houston, but she has already made an enduring impact that will help countless Houstonians and others access city services.

Hillary’s perseverance and drive, her compassion and understanding, and her personal experiences have helped her develop an extraordinary ability to connect and communicate with constituents with disabilities. She has already been instrumental in advancing several mobility projects MOPD has completed. The city’s Accessible Infrastructure Program will help more people in the future because of improvements Hillary has made to MOPD’s digital communications space. She also has worked to develop a monthly newsletter and raise MOPD’s social media presence.

Hillary’s talents have also touched some familiar Houston institutions. She has volunteered to improve accessibility issues with Theatre Under the Stars, the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, and the Houston Airport System. Her efforts not only raise awareness to accessibility issues, they result in changes that improve access for people with disabilities. And Hillary also volunteers regularly with Canine Companions for Independence, helping with media engagements, press releases, and community engagement events.

Hillary’s reliance on a wheelchair is no barrier: It is no barrier to excelling at her job with MOPD, it is no barrier to serving others, it is no barrier to volunteering at numerous community institutions, and it is no barrier to inspiring us all.

Thank you Hilary Pircher for inspiring us and bringing awareness to our community.

 

 

Thomas Zachary 72Richard P. Smith
Managing Engineer
Houston Public Works, Interim Director of Houston Public Works and the City Engineer

Richard Smith being honored with a Bravo Award should come as no surprise. He has always done more than what was asked or expected. He is an achiever. He sees that something needs to be done and he does it, regardless of whether it’s strictly within his job description. And he has a knack for defusing tensions and building consensus. This is why the City Engineer's office recently made him a customer service advocate for both internal and external customers. He’s never at a loss when it comes to resolving issues for city employees, and you should see him turn concerned or disgruntled residents into happy ones — whether it’s at a heated public meeting or a dispute between a developer and a homeowner neighbor.

Richard brings that same positive insight, energy and initiative to volunteerism. The list of beneficiaries of his generosity and altruism is too long to list here … but I’ll try:

  • The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts of America, where he has helped lead troops and served on the Sam Houston Area Council;
  • Lord of the Street (or LOTS), a church community that that welcomes the unhoused and formerly homeless to help them restore and rebuild their lives;
  • The Texas Association of Water Polo and USA Water Polo;
  • The Texas Association of Sports Officials;
  • Westbury Little League;
  • The Westbury Soccer Club;
  • The Institute of Transportation Engineers, Greater Houston Section, professional organization representing traffic and transportation engineers;
  • and he was instrumental in revitalizing the Herod Community Garden in the Myerland area — twice.

Thank you Richard Smith for your commitment and dedication to our community.

Hillary’s reliance on a wheelchair is no barrier: It is no barrier to excelling at her job with MOPD, it is no barrier to serving others, it is no barrier to volunteering at numerous community institutions, and it is no barrier to inspiring us all.

Thank you Hilary Pircher for inspiring us and bringing awareness to our community.

 

 

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