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Rehabilitation Programs Division

Volunteer Services Program

2017 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Gatesville-Based Ministry Receives Governor's Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award

Photo of Award Winner(s) President and Co-founder of Discipleship Unlimited Linda Strom (seated with red shirt) and members of her ministry are recognized at the Governor's Volunteer Awards Ceremony. Pictured with TBCJ Chairman Dale Wainwright, Keynote Speaker Judge Sharon Keller, and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier.

(AUSTIN) – Discipleship Unlimited Ministry of Gatesville, Texas was presented the Religious Service award during the Governor's 2017 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award program today. Accepting the award was Linda Strom, president and co-founder of the organization with her late husband, Dallas.

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.

"It takes a special kind of person to give of their time and expect no material reward," said Bryan Collier, Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. "The contributions these volunteers make are invaluable and have a lasting impact on the public safety of our fellow Texans."

"By giving of their time and their gifts as volunteers, these award recipients are helping build a better community not only for themselves but for everyone whose lives they touch," said Wainwright.

Linda and Dallas Strom began Discipleship Unlimited in Wisconsin in the 1980s before re-locating to Texas where they began volunteering in TDCJ in 2003 and were inspired to continue the marriage seminars at the units. Unfortunately, Dallas passed away in 2008 after battling cancer but Linda continued with a focus on the female offenders in the Gatesville area. Discipleship Unlimited now has 260 volunteers serving the agency by providing support and co-ordination for faith-based dorms on six units, teaching faith-based curriculum, holding weekly Bible studies, as well as providing chapel services. Discipleship Unlimited has also provided thousands of dollars worth of equipment, resources and curriculum. 

Discipleship Unlimited is one of 9 organizations and 12 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 the lives of convicted offenders, and aiding and comforting their victims.

In FY2016, there were over 24,500 volunteers who provided a total of 390,711 hours of service.

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