2009 Governor's Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards
Donna Haggard, "Carol S. Vance" Volunteer of the Year
Donna Haggard has been selected as the recipient of the prestigious Carol S. Vance Volunteer of the Year Award for her servant leadership, genuine dedication and commitment to the rehabilitation of ex-offenders.
As a former Correctional Officer and Parole Officer, she understands the lives, needs and circumstances of parolees. She volunteers to help those who are less fortunate and in need of mentoring, guidance and counsel. Ms. Haggard leads them to find a meaningful and purpose-filled life. Her goal is the successful re-integration of offenders to become productive citizens of the community. She dedicates an estimated 80% of her time, to provide superb volunteer service for the Parolees assigned to the San Antonio Metro Parole offices. Not only does she influence the lives of parolees, but also those of their families.
Ms. Haggard nurtures those in her class and offers them hope. The program she has developed helps the ex-offender develop positive goals as well as skills and training to help them re-enter the 'free world'. She instituted a graduation ceremony at the end of her 12-week class that includes a certificate of completion, a meaningful gift, graduation pictures and a special dinner, which she hosts in a very nice local restaurant. All of this, accomplished at her personal expense. To date, Ms. Haggard has hosted eight graduation ceremonies and post-graduation celebrations!
Ms. Haggard has helped ex-offenders and their families with genuine rehabilitation and restoration. She personifies the application of this high award and more importantly, represents the spirit of it as well.
In 1999, the Texas Board of Criminal Justice named the Volunteer of the Year Award after Carol S. Vance, former TDCJ Chairman and Board Member, former TDCJ Programs Committee Chair, and current Chaplaincy volunteer (since 1996) at the Darrington and Jester Units. This award recognizes his many contributions in the development of rehabilitative programming offered to offenders to effect change.