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Rehabilitation Programs Division

Volunteer Services Program

2017 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Houston Man Receives Governor's Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award

Photo of Award Winner(s) From left to right: TBCJ Chairman Dale Wainwright, Keynote Speaker Judge Sharon Keller, "Bridges to Life" founder John Sage, former TBCJ Chairman Carol S. Vance and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier.

(AUSTIN) – John Sage of Houston, Texas was presented the Carol S. Vance Volunteer of the Year Award during the Governor's 2017 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award program today.

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.

Mr. Sage founded the "Bridges to Life" program in 1999 as a way of coping with the brutal murder of his sister, Marilyn. "Bridges to Life" helps offenders more fully understand the impact of their crimes on victims. The program currently operates in numerous TDCJ units, 11 other states and four foreign countries. Approximately 2,000 volunteers have contributed to the program with over 400,000 hours of volunteer time. Volunteer victims come to speak to the groups about how the crimes have affected their lives and what they have experienced in the aftermath.

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 currently 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.

Mr. Sage is one of 12 individuals and 9 organizations 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.