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Rehabilitation Programs Division

Volunteer Services Program

2018 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Midlothian-Based Organization Receives Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award

Photo of Award Winner(s) From left to right: TBCJ Chairman Dale Wainwright, William Curry of Veterans Helping Veterans, Supreme Court Justice Jimmy Blacklock, and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier.

(AUSTIN) – Veterans Helping Veterans was presented with the “Most Innovative Program” award during the Governor’s 2018 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award program today.   

The award was presented by Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Dale Wainwright and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier during a ceremony held in Austin to Mr. William C. “Bill” Curry of Veterans Helping Veterans.

“Each of these award recipients has given countless hours of volunteer service within the TDCJ and we are extremely grateful for their efforts,” said director Collier. “They help to make a profound impact on the lives of thousands of offenders and, in doing so, make Texas safer. They are truly everyday heroes.”

Chairman Wainwright said, “These award recipients are giving of their time and gifts to help build better communities throughout Texas. We are extremely thankful for the volunteers we recognize with these awards. They selflessly serve others out of a sense of responsibility to their fellow Texans and to the offenders.”

While researching programs that provide assistance to incarcerated veterans, Mr. Curry discovered that few existed. He was motivated to start a program called Veterans Helping Veterans at the Estes Unit in Venus, Texas that would focus on meeting their needs. The program is closely modeled after a military unit with an environment that promotes mutual support, trust and comradery while fostering the closeness veterans experienced while serving in the military. Licensed counselors volunteer twice monthly to conduct group therapy sessions on topics such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anger management, depression and other veteran-related issues. Mr. Curry, who is a Certified Volunteer Chaplain’s Assistant (CVCA), knew that reintegration is a difficult transition for incarcerated veterans to make when returning to their communities, so he also arranged for marriage seminars to help in this area. The program curriculum includes PTSD awareness/management, resume preparation, employment skills, financial management and mentoring.

Veterans Helping Veterans is one of 7 organizations and 14 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 lives of convicted offenders, and aiding and comforting their victims.

In FY2017, there were over 23,288 volunteers who provided a total of 395,207 volunteer hours of service.

Note to media: For more information, contact Jeremy Desel, TDCJ Public Information Director, at 936-437-6052 or by e-mail at jeremy.desel@tdcj.texas.gov – For high resolution photos of award recipients, contact Jene Andersen at jene.andersen@tdcj.texas.gov.