Fourteen individuals, groups and organizations were selected for the 39th annual Governor’s Volunteer Awards, which highlight the work of service-minded Texans.

To be eligible to win an award, recipients must have volunteered within Texans and primarily served Texans. The service must have been performed within the last 18 months, except for recipients of the Governor’s Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award. This award recognizes people who have volunteered in Texas for at least 15 years.

The award winners were announced in early February. According to a news release, they will be honored in April during a ceremony at the Texas Governor’s Mansion, which will be hosted by First Lady Cecilia Abbott. April is also National Volunteer Month.

“I am thrilled to recognize the 14 outstanding winners of this year’s Governor’s Volunteer Awards for their selfless dedication to Texans across the state,” Abbott said in the release. “The true strength of Texas is found in our people, and this year’s award winners are a moving testament to the character of the Lone Star State.”

The award recipients are:
  • Harriet Marmon Helmle of San Antonio (Governor’s Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award);
  • Mindy Gross of Fort Bend (Governor’s Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award);
  • Rose Wilson of Lubbock: (Governor’s Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award);
  • Catherine Bai of Houston (First Lady’s Rising Star Award);
  • Vedha Vaddaraju of Dallas (First Lady’s Rising Star Award);
  • Elizabeth Watkins of Frisco (Volunteer of the Year Award);
  • Gary Beach of Austin (Volunteer of the Year Award);
  • Diana and Glen Egley of New Danville (Volunteer Family of the Year Award);
  • LGI Homes of Fort Bend, Harris and Montgomery Counties (Corporate Volunteering Champion Award);
  • Midland High School Football of Midland (Innovation in Volunteerism Award);
  • Unite & Inspire of Houston (Innovation in Volunteerism Award);
  • Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group of Aransas, Bee, Kleberg, Nueces, Refugio and San Patricio Counties (Excellence in Disaster Volunteerism Award);
  • Texas Search and Rescue of Texas (Excellence in Disaster Volunteerism Award); and
  • Samiksha Deme of Houston (National Service “Make a Difference” Award).
More information about the award winners is available online.

Nominations for the 2024 awards will open this spring, according to the program website.