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Rehabilitation Programs Division

Volunteer Services Program

2015 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Houston Organization Receives Governor’s 2015 Criminal Justice Volunteer Award

Photo of Award Winner(s) From left to right: Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Oliver Bell, Keynote Speaker Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, members of the Honor Thy Father Program and Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Brad Livingston.

(AUSTIN) – Wendy Brouwer of Houston, Texas accepted the Governor’s 2015 Criminal Justice Volunteer “Best Family Program” award on behalf of the “Honor Thy Father” program today.

The award was presented by Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Oliver Bell, and TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston during a ceremony held in Austin.

“We’re grateful for the efforts of these award recipients,” said Livingston. “These everyday heroes are making a profound and lasting impact on the lives of individuals across the State of Texas.”

“Through their grace and their love, these volunteers touch the lives of many Texans,” said Bell. “They assist agency staff, and they help the offenders and their families have a chance for a better life - impacting generations to come.”

“Honor Thy Father” is a new family program that fosters the Biblical concept of men being accountable as the head of their household. As part of the healing process, the program serves as an avenue for male offenders to stop, reflect and confess on what went wrong that brought them into this situation. As part of the program, there is a day for the offender to invite his own father to the unit for a special event. The Father-Son gathering has many parts which eventually leads the parent to understand the new level of maturity that their child has committed himself to. At the conclusion, there is a shared meal, they watch the movie “Courageous” and both father and son sign a proclamation of a renewed commitment to themselves, each other, their families and God. It serves as a reminder to both parties when they are tempted to waver from the commitment.

When not volunteering in the “Honor Thy Father” program, Ms. Brouwer spends time with her family including hiking with her husband, Tom. She also enjoys painting, gardening and doing interior design work.

“Honor Thy Father” is one of 5 organizations and 16 individuals 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 the lives of convicted offenders, and aiding and comforting their victims.

In FY2014, there were 21,492 volunteers who served a total of 427,345 hours.

Note to media: For more information, contact Robert C. Hurst, TDCJ Public Information Officer, at 936-437-6052 or by e-mail at robert.hurst@tdcj.texas.gov. Photos of award recipients will be available on the TDCJ Web site at http://www.tdcj.texas.gov. For high resolution photos, please contact Jene Andersen at jene.andersen@tdcj.texas.gov.