Volunteer Houston Announces 43 Finalists for Greater Houston Service Awards
As community engagement is a hallmark of the University of Houston-Downtown, UHD President Dr. Bill Flores and First Lady Dr. Noël Bezette-Flores are pleased to serve as co-chairs for Volunteer Houston's 2015 Greater Houston Service Awards. This week, the nonprofit announced the 43 outstanding volunteers who are finalists for the awards in 15 categories.
"The spirit of volunteerism and the willingness of Houstonians to give back make this city so great," said President Flores. "These 43 finalists are a wide representation of the volunteer efforts going on throughout the community."
Volunteer Houston will announce the winners in each category at a celebratory luncheon at the Bayou City Event Center on Friday, May 15.
Neil Bush will receive this year's Volunteer Houston Impact Award at the luncheon, where he will discuss the impact volunteering has had on his family throughout the years. "As chairman of Points of Light, an organization started by President George H.W. Bush while in office, and the Houston Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation, Neil has made a huge impact not only on Houstonians, but the national landscape of volunteering," said Cameron Waldner, CEO of Volunteer Houston.
Launched in 1984 by Mayor Kathy Whitmire, the Greater Houston Service Awards have become a cherished staple of the Houston nonprofit community. Each year, organizations from throughout the Greater Houston area nominate exceptional volunteers for this recognition. Once the finalists are selected, community judges select winners for each category. In addition to the individual and group categories, Volunteer Houston grants a Lifetime Achievement Award that recognizes the efforts of those who have contributed 15 or more years of service to a nonprofit organization.
"While it is an honor to be a finalist for the Lifetime Achievement Award, the real credit goes to all of the Houstonians who dedicate their lives to making this the best place to live and work," said Hank Moore, Lifetime Achievement finalist and acclaimed volunteer. In 42 years of service, Moore has served on 14 area nonprofit boards of directors.
In addition to Dr. Flores and Dr. Bezette-Flores, the Greater Houston Service Awards host committee includes members Angela Cox with CenterPoint Energy, Amy Gasca with Torch Energy, Mike Gustafson with ConocoPhillips, Lisa Jakel with Trinity Lutheran Downtown, Ryan McCauley with JPMorgan Chase, Robbie Pape with Service Corps International, and Jennifer Waldner with AIG.
"In our fast-paced, hectic world, recognition often gets overlooked, especially for those who give selflessly of their time," said President Flores. "The Greater Houston Service Awards is a wonderful way to say thank you and recognize the impact volunteers can have on an organization and the region."
The 2015 Greater Houston Service Award finalists include:
|Vita Living, Inc.||Nancy and David Bishop|
|The Monarch School||Jean Manning|
|Souper Bowl of Caring||Mr. and Mrs. George Strake|
|Group Volunteer of the Year|
|Room to Read-Kingwood and Beyond||"|
|Ten Thousand Villages Volunteers||"|
|Trinity Lutheran School||"|
|Youth Volunteer of the Year|
|American Red Cross||Amy Ma|
|Souper Bowl of Caring||Sarah Kate Thomas|
|Sewa International||Kaushiki Tewary|
|Corporate Volunteer Group of the Year|
|Souper Bowl of Caring||HEB, Kroger, Randalls|
|Neighborhood Centers||JPMorgan Chase|
|Animal Welfare Volunteer|
|Sugar Land Animal Shelter||Lauren Chubon|
|Houston SPCA||Milton Gray|
|Faithful Paws||Connie Richards|
|Arts and Culture Volunteer|
|Houston Arts Alliance||Rose Nolen|
|Houston Symphony League||Susan Snider Osterberg|
|Basic Needs Volunteer|
|Casa de Esperanza||Carla Anderson|
|Houston Food Bank||Tom Ashworth|
|Dress for Success||Catherine Pressly Herring|
|Community & Civic Development Volunteer|
|Lemonade Day Houston||Tiphany Burrell|
|Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star||Ryan Gabbart|
|Neighborhood Centers||Elaine O'Gorman|
|Disaster Preparedness Volunteer|
|Homeland Preparedness Project||Doug Lamson|
|American Red Cross||Rachael Vieth|
|Education Volunteer||Sandy Judson|
|Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council|
|Literacy Advance||Alina Marshevskaya|
|The Arbor School||Kristin Zubler|
|Galveston Bay Foundation||Skyler Carey|
|Bayou Preservation Association||Ty Kelly|
|Military & Veteran Volunteer|
|Lone Star Veterans Association||Don Culbert|
|Lone Star Veterans Association||Bryan Escobedo|
|The Mission Continues||Kedrick Winfield|
|Interfaith Ministries||Haydar Al Kindi|
|Elevare International||Susan Hobson Mendoza|
|Blessed by Success Outreach Ministries||Devonda Francis|
|F.A.I.T.H. Families & Individuals Thanking Heroes||Amy Kennedy|
|St. Martha's Catholic Church & Light the Path Foundation||Nora Katherine Twohy|
|Lifetime Achievement Volunteer|
|Casa de Esperanza||Michael Cordua|
|AVANCE - Houston||Pete C. Garcia|
|The Women's Home||Adele and Ber Pieper|