July 22, 2024

The Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Services Awards were created in 1995 through collaborative efforts between the Office of Governor George W. Bush and the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ). These awards are designated to honor volunteers who have made outstanding contributions to the mission of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). The presentation of these awards has become a time-honored tradition and a highlight for the TBCJ and the TDCJ.The award was presented by Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott, Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Eric Nichols, and Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Executive Director Bryan Collier during an online ceremony.”These award recipients, by volunteering countless hours, are helping to build a better Texas for themselves and everyone whose lives they touch,” Nichols said. “It is an honor to recognize them for their hard work and dedication.””These volunteers are true heroes,” Collier said. “Their compassion and commitment make a profound and lasting difference in the lives of many Texans. TDCJ, and the entire state, is better because of their service.”There were 22 individuals and organizations from across the state recognized for their efforts to help inmates and those who are on parole or probation. They donate many hours of their personal time every year with the goal of changing lives.  The complete list of recipients can be viewed on the TDCJ website.  
Vol of Year_Robert Diggs 4.2024(above: TBCJ Chairman Eric Nichols, Robert Diggs, Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier) Robert Diggs of Dallas, Texas was presented the Carol S. Vance Award.  Mr. Diggs, a Certified Volunteer Chaplain’s Assistant, has volunteered for the TDCJ for over 25 years. Diggs facilitates spiritual growth classes such as Overcomers and Family Education. His work with the Family Education program is unique in that he acts as liaison between the client’s family and services available.
 Girls Embracing Mothers, Inc. (GEMS) in Dallas, Texas, was presented the Best Family Program Award.  GEMS is a Dallas-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides programming designed for incarcerated mothers and their daughters.  Girls Embracing Mothers - Best Family Program Award(above: TBCJ Chairman Eric Nichols, Girls Embracing Mothers, Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier)
 Lori Riggs of Winnsboro, Texas, was presented the TDCJ Employee Volunteer Award.  Riggs volunteers her time to help the incarcerated women at the Johnston Unit, in addition to helping inmates through her work as a Substance Use Counselor.  Employee Volunteer 2024_Lori Riggs(above: TBCJ Chairman Eric Nichols, Lori Riggs, Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier)
Travis Henderson_Judy Burd Award 2024(above: TBCJ Chairman Eric Nichols, Travis Henderson, Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier) Travis Henderson of Huntsville, Texas, was presented the Judy Burd Award from the Windham School District (WSD).  Mr. Henderson began his volunteer journey with Windham School District over 15 years ago while he was still employed with the district. Since his retirement in 2022, he has increased his volunteer efforts, visiting numerous Windham campuses to engage with students. 
Clements Unit Chapel DedicationPastor Larry MilesPastor Miles was appointed to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) and the Board of Trustees for the Windham School District (WSD) in August 2014.  In June of 2020 he was elected by his fellow board members to the position of Board Secretary.  Pastor Miles chaired the Rehabilitation Reentry Programs committee and was a member of the Community Corrections and Victim Services committee.  He is currently an active member of the TDCJ Agricultural Advisory Committee.Pastor Miles faithfully served the William P. Clements Unit as a Certified Volunteer Chaplain Assistant (CVCA) for 25 years.  Among his many contributions as a board member is the establishment of the Reading is Freedom Program, first piloted at the Clements Unit in June 2017. In honor of Pastor Miles and his service, a dedication ceremony will take place at the Clements Unit in Amarillo, TX, for the naming of the Pastor Larry Miles Chapel. 
A Message from the Rehabilitation Programs Division DirectorVolunteers dedicate their lives to helping others and being the positive influence that we all need in this world. In TDCJ we are truly blessed to have the privilege of serving beside you. Thank you for all that you do, and May God continue to bless you and your families.-RPD Division Director
Christopher Carter RPD Division Director Christopher Carter
Thank You For Volunteering!The TDCJ Volunteer Services Staff would like to thank our dedicated volunteers!  “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” -Oscar Wilde  Volunteer Services Staff_April 2024(above: Leslie Gier, Kay Hindmon, Marisol Larios, Chad Wakefield, Lisa Langley, Makayla Vickers, Casey Bolin