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Rehabilitation Programs Division

Volunteer Services Program

2009 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

John Meriwether, "Judy Burd" Award - Windham School District

John Meriwether has worn many "caps" during his 81 years. He has been a petroleum engineer, a high school chemistry teacher and most recently as a volunteer grief counselor at the Johnston Unit in Winnsboro, Texas. He also helps with R.E.C. (Residents Encountering Christ) weekends at the Johnston, Telford and Cole units, and on Tuesdays, he puts on his "math cap" to teach math in the Education Department at the Johnston Unit. Students describe Mr. Meriwether as caring, genuine, smart, compassionate, and energetic - an overall good man. He has had a tremendous impact on his students as seen in the increase of their test scores. For his dedication to helping others improve themselves through education, John Meriwether has been selected to receive the "Judy Burd" Award from Windham School District.

This award is named in tribute to curriculum specialist, Judy Burd, who was employed with the Windham School District where she developed the nationally recognized pre-release program CHANGES. She was also the WSD Volunteer Program Coordinator and, in that capacity, encouraged many to give of their time in service to others. Judy Burd was well qualified for this role as she volunteered at the local alternative education program, and for several years taught adult education at night in her community, helping many learn to read and write.