Covite announced among Governor’s Volunteer Award recipients
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott, Honorary Chair of the 34th annual Governor’s Volunteer Awards, announced the 2017 Governor’s Volunteer award recipients on Thursday.
Tony Smith of Copperas Cove was named as being this year’s recipient of the Service to Veterans Award. Smith will be among those attending a reception to be held this fall at the Texas Governor’s Mansion in Austin.
Smith, a retired veteran, works as a volunteer, county-appointed Veterans Service Officer for veterans in Coryell County and beyond.
He also serves as the commander of the local Disabled American Veterans Chapter 74 and is a trained small group facilitator through Bring Everyone in the Zone. There are now several peer-to-peer support groups that meet weekly in Copperas Cove, with one of those being the group Smith facilitates on Monday evenings, which provides confidential support and a safe place for both active duty and former military alike. Additionally, he helps support the peer-to-peer group that meets weekly in Gatesville.
“Tony Smith, the Coryell County Veterans Service Officer, is exceptionally well deserving to be recognized as a Governor’s Volunteer Award winner for 2017. As a volunteer, he has tirelessly worked to help veterans get critical assistance, support, and financial aid,” said Coryell County Judge John Firth. “On his own, he became an expert at working complex veteran support procedures to expedite the application support process and maximize the support that our veterans so rightly deserve. He has also dedicated himself to helping to create and sustain counselling and emergency support for veterans who need so many types of services. The residents of Coryell County are so proud and thankful for the veteran support services that Tony provides to the veterans of our county and beyond.”
The Governor’s Volunteer Awards, administered by OneStar Foundation, honor the contributions of individuals, businesses and organizations in Texas that have made a positive impact in their communities or across the state through service and volunteering. Through her Texanthropy Initiative, Abbott has made promoting volunteerism and service to others her primary focus as First Lady of Texas.
“It is no secret that Texas is filled with generous individuals and organizations, but these eleven awardees are truly extraordinary,” Abbott said. “I am touched by all of the amazing things they are each doing to help their fellow Texans. Their example is truly inspiring.”
Smith was named along with winners in six other categories statewide.
David Godwin, who has performed decades of volunteer service in the Houston area, will receive the Governor’s Lone Star Achievement Award. The First Lady’s Rising Star Award goes to 12-year-old Micah Pinson, who has held an annual toy drive since 2011 that has collected more than 25,000 toys for Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas. The Partners in Education Award goes to the Fort Bend Education Foundation, having raised more than $32 million in grant funding for Fort Bend ISD. The Higher Education Community Impact Award goes to the University of Houston’s SURE Program. USAA will receive the Corporate Community Impact Award, and Granite Properties, Inc. will receive the Corporate Community Impact Award for Small Business. Haven For Hope of Bexar County will receive the Community Leadership Award.