43 Finalists Announced for Greater Houston Service Awards

HOUSTON (March 25, 2015) — When there is a call to serve, Houstonians step into action–often not receiving anything but the satisfaction of knowing they have helped their community.  As a way to honor those individuals, Volunteer Houston has organized the Greater Houston Service Awards for 31 years and recently announced the 43 finalists in 15 categories.

“The spirit of volunteerism and the willingness of Houstonians to give back make this city so great,” said Dr. Bill Flores, president of the University of Houston Downtown and chair of the Greater Houston Service Awards. “These 43 finalists are a wide representation of the volunteer efforts going on throughout the community.”

The winner of each category will be announced at the Friday, May 15 luncheon and ceremony at the Bayou City Event Center.  Neil Bush will receive this year’s Impact Award and will discuss the impact volunteering had on him and 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.

Started in 1984 by Mayor Kathy Whitmire, the Greater Houston Service Awards has become an annual staple of the Houston community.  Nonprofit organizations nominate outstanding volunteers from January through February each year.  After the finalists are selected, community judges read through the applications and select a winner for each category.  The selection is based on a five criteria based scoring rubric.  In addition to the individual and group categories, there is a Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing the efforts of individuals who have contributed fifteen years or more 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 that 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 fourteen area nonprofit boards of directors.

The Greater Houston Service Awards host committee includes Chairs Dr. Bill Flores and Dr. Noel Bezette-Flores, and 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 that give selflessly of their time.  The Greater Houston Service is a wonderful way to say thank you and recognize the impact volunteers can have on an organization and the region,” said Flores.

2015 Greater Houston Service Award Finalists

Organization Finalist
Philanthropic Volunteer    
Vita Living, Inc. Nancy and David Bishop
The Monarch School Jean Manning
Souper Bowl of Caring Mr. & 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 and Civic Development Volunteer
Lemonade Day Houston Tiphany Burrell
Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star Ryan Gabbart
Neighborhood Centers, Inc. Elaine O’Gorman
Disaster Preparedness Volunteer
Homeland Preparedness Project Doug Lamson
American Red Cross Rachael Vieth
Education Volunteer
Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Sandy Judson
Literacy Advance Alina Marshevskaya
The Arbor School Kristin Zubler
Environment Volunteer
Galveston Bay Foundation Skyler Carey
Bayou Preservation Association Ty Kelly
Military and 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 and Individuals Thanking Heroes Amy Kennedy
St. Martha’s Catholic Church and 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