Thursday, 14 April 2022 13:19

Mayor Turner presents 2022 Volunteer Service Awards to 25 Houstonians

Mayor Sylvester Turner in March presented the 2022 Mayor’s Volunteer Service Awards to 25 community partners in recognition of exemplary volunteer service to the city and Houston residents at a reception hosted by the Department of Neighborhoods at City Hall.

The awards recognize the significant contributions of individuals and organizations dedicated to helping neighbors and communities through service projects in the following categories: Community Engagement, Education, Social Service, and Youth.

“I am proud to recognize the impact of volunteerism in our city as we honor the work of some remarkable individuals who have stepped up to generously give of their time to help fellow Houstonians in need,” Turner said. “Whether it’s leading organizations to fulfill their mission, helping people rebuild their lives after the devastation of a natural disaster, or just finding a way of giving and helping others, these volunteers are tackling big challenges. We thank them for joining forces with the city as community partners to ensure that Houstonians receive the services they need and that communities stay strong.”

DON Director TaKasha Francis also applauded the recipients for their selfless efforts.

“We are extremely grateful to our honorees for their hard work and dedication to serving Houstonians, and we thank them for working with our department’s community outreach staff daily,” Francis said.  “Whether the call is for food assistance, shelter for a homeless family, services that empower refugees, immigrants, and disenfranchised populations, or simple acts kindness for seniors, these individuals work tirelessly to ensure that basic needs are met. They are a fine example of neighbors helping neighbors, and today we celebrate their generous caring deeds.”

2022 Mayor’s Volunteer Service Award recipients:

Cynthia Colbert, President

Betsy Ballard, Director of Communications

Karina Hernandez, Director of Community Relations

Bart Ferrell, Catholic Charities of Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston 

Catholic Charities is a partner organization involved with The Family Transfer Center. The Family Transfer Center was opened to help migrants cleared at the border connect with their families or sponsors in the U.S. The 500-person capacity center featured respite facilities and services for migrants waiting to be shuttled by volunteers to the airport or bus station for travel to their final destinations.

Erika Banks, Emergency Operations Manager, Houston Food Bank

The Houston Food Bank is a partner organization involved with the Family Transfer Center. The Family Transfer Center was opened to help migrants cleared at the border connect with their families or sponsors in the U.S. The 500-person capacity center featured respite facilities and services for migrants waiting to be shuttled by volunteers to the airport or bus station for travel to their final destinations.

James Banks, Assistant Director

Andi Cook, Communications Director

Chris Crawford, Executive Assistant of Elder Cuvelier

Jeff Gutke, Executive Assistant of Elder Rascon, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Greg Little, Executive Assistant to the Director

Elder Art Rascon

Elder Carlos Villarreal, Director, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — Houston Metro Area

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a partner organization involved with the Family Transfer Center. The Family Transfer Center was opened to help migrants cleared at the border connect with their families or sponsors in the U.S. The 500-person capacity center featured respite facilities and services for migrants waiting to be shuttled by volunteers to the airport or bus station for travel to their final destinations.

Elder Corey Cuvelier, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Cuvelier serves in one of the highest leadership positions with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Houston area. The Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints is a partner organization involved with the Family Transfer Center. The Family Transfer Center was opened to help migrants cleared at the border connect with their families or sponsors in the U.S. The 500-person capacity center featured respite facilities and services for migrants waiting to be shuttled by volunteers to the airport or bus station for travel to their final destinations.

Dalton DeHart, President, Dalton DeHart Photographic Foundation

Dalton DeHart is recognized for volunteering over 20 years to preserve the history of Houston’s LGBT community and donating his time to photograph the activities of the Department of Neighborhoods’ Office of New Americans and Immigrant Communities and other City events.

Marshall Gonzales, Director, Texas Adventist Community Services

Texas Adventist Community Services is a partner organization involved with The Family Transfer Center. The Family Transfer Center was opened to help migrants cleared at the border connect with their families or sponsors in the U.S. The 500-person capacity center featured respite facilities and services for migrants waiting to be shuttled by volunteers to the airport or bus station for travel to their final destinations.

Keoni Josiah, Basileus, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity

The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity has contributed significantly as the core volunteer group for Department of Neighborhoods' Good Neighbor Project. In 2021, fraternity volunteers provided lawn service to 13 senior citizens in various neighborhoods throughout the city.

Pastor José Ortega, Disaster Service Director, The National Association of Christian Churches

The National Association of Christian Churches is a partner organization involved with the Family Transfer Center. The Family Transfer Center was opened to help migrants cleared at the border connect with their families or sponsors in the U.S. The 500-person capacity center featured respite facilities and services for migrants waiting to be shuttled by volunteers to the airport or bus station for travel to their final destinations.

Olga Perez, YMCA International Services

YMCA International Services is a partner organization involved with the Family Transfer Center. The Family Transfer Center was opened to help migrants cleared at the border connect with their families or sponsors in the U.S. The 500-person capacity center featured respite facilities and services for migrants waiting to be shuttled by volunteers to the airport or bus station for travel to their final destinations.

Deanna Poehlman

Tommy Rosson, Executive Director, Houston Responds 

Houston Responds is a partner organization involved with the Family Transfer Center. The Family Transfer Center was opened to help migrants cleared at the border connect with their families or sponsors in the U.S. The 500-person capacity center featured respite facilities and services for migrants waiting to be shuttled by volunteers to the airport or bus station for travel to their final destinations.

Jeff Watkins, Executive Vice President for Inclusive Communities, YMCA International Services

YMCA International Services is a partner organization involved with the Family Transfer Center. The Family Transfer Center was opened to help migrants cleared at the border connect with their families or sponsors in the U.S. The 500-person capacity center featured respite facilities and services for migrants waiting to be shuttled by volunteers to the airport or bus station for travel to their final destinations.

Education Category

Reda Hicks, Board of Directors & Executive VP for Inclusive Communities, League of Women Voters of Houston

Reda Hicks covers voting rights laws and civic engagement for the Department of Neighborhoods Complete Communities University leadership development course. Her presentations have educated and inspired emerging leaders enrolled in the course.

Social Service Category

Pastor Enid S. Henderson, Ebenezer United Methodist Church

Pastor Enid Henderson and her congregation have been important partners of the Department of Neighborhoods' Good Neighbor Project and Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service kindness projects benefitting 200 seniors in the Independence Heights community.

And in the Youth Category

Dylan Flores, Student, Cy-Ridge High School

Dylan Flores has been responsible for recruiting youth to participate in service-learning projects for the City of Houston. Those projects include the MLK Day of Service, Global Youth Service Day, and the September 11 Day of Service, among others. Over the past few years, Dylan has recruited as many as 175 youth for projects benefitting senior citizens and veterans.

Christina Hill, Paralegal Specialist, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas is a partner organization involved with providing Christmas presents (Angel Tree) for youth for 18 years.

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