15:04 PM

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:

Organization Finalist
Philanthropic Volunteer  
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  
Kid's Meals Halliburton
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  
WorldFest Elease Jenkins
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
Environment Volunteer  
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
International Volunteer  
Interfaith Ministries Haydar Al Kindi
Elevare International Susan Hobson Mendoza
Religious Volunteer  
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
Various Hank Moore
The Women's Home Adele and Ber Pieper