(AUSTIN) – Eugenia Rust of Woodville was awarded the Governor's 2012 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award today in recognition of her dedication to helping offenders incarcerated within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
The award was presented by Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Oliver Bell, and TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston today during a ceremony held in Austin. Rust is one of 13 individuals and 6 organizations from across the state recognized for their efforts to help offenders and those who are on parole or probation.
"Each of this year's award recipients personify a selfless dedication to helping offenders succeed both while incarcerated, and once they're released," said Livingston.
Rust was the recipient of this year's "Correctional Institutions Division" Award.
Eugenia Rust has been a volunteer for the TDCJ for the past fifteen years. Since 1997, she has been faithfully volunteering by assisting in the Gib Lewis Chaplaincy office, as well as encouraging and counseling staff or serving as the Card Ministry Chairperson. Mrs. Rust is an inspiration to everyone.
Within the last eight years, she has personally overseen the giving of over 43,287 cards to offenders, and many times with a note of encouragement included. Rust is instrumental in selecting the perfect card that best meets an offender's request, whether it is a get-well message, wishes for a happy birthday, a thinking of you, anniversary wishes, or condolences to a loved one. This ministry may often go unnoticed by some but it is encouraging for the offenders who so often have no other way to connect with their family.
Eugenia Rust is one of thousands of concerned volunteers, who like her; 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. Annually, over 18,000 volunteers make 163,000 visits to criminal justice facilities and work with offenders who are on supervision, donating over 526,000 hours of service.