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TDCJ employees raise $150,000 for Special Olympics through torch run

Guerrero, Skipper, Special Olympics officials and Steven Rodriquez hold up big check for $150000
Lynaugh Unit Assistant Warden Erick Guerrero, far left, and Cindy Skipper, assistant warden’s secretary at the Telford Unit, far right, presented a $150,000 check to Special Olympics Texas officials and Special Olympics athlete Steven Rodriquez in January. The agency’s contribution does not include money raised for Special Olympics through the State Employee Charitable Campaign.

TDCJ Photo

A check totaling $900,000, including a $150,000 contribution from the employees of Texas Department of Criminal Justice, was presented to Special Olympics Texas at the conclusion of this year’s Law Enforcement Torch Run in May.

CID Region III Director Brian Rodeen joined Eric Guerrero, assistant warden at the Lynaugh Unit in Fort Stockton, and Cindy Skipper, assistant warden’s secretary at the Telford Unit in New Boston, in presenting the check representing the agency’s contribution to the organization. The contribution does not include donations made to Special Olympics through the State Employee Charitable Campaign.

Celebrating its 27th anniversary in 2008, the Law Enforcement Torch Run is an event that raises money for Special Olympics programs on a local and international level. TDCJ units recognized this year for their efforts and support of Special Olympics Texas included:

Small Agency Category

1st Place – Sayle Unit, Breckenridge

2nd Place – Jester IV Facility, Sugar Land

3rd Place – Tulia Transfer Facility, Tulia

Mid-Size Agency Category

1st Place – Neal Unit, Pampa

2nd Place – Dalhart Unit, Dalhart

3rd Place – Lopez State Jail, Edinburg

Large Agency Category

1st Place – Clements Unit, Amarillo

2nd Place – Telford Unit, New Boston

3rd Place – Robertson Unit, Abilene

Montford Unit officer wins individual gold medal in karate competition

illustration of man demonstrating karate move.Montford Unit CO IV Michael Homer made a bit of history in June by winning the gold medal in the karate competition at the Texas Police Athletic Federal Olympics held on South Padre Island. Until this year, no TDCJ security officer had won a gold medal in an individual event at the games.

Homer bested an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency to win the gold medal. He was invited to the games by Lubbock Independent School District security officer Darren Walters, who holds seven national and five world titles in karate and serves as Homer’s Sensei coach.

“Walters told me when I committed to the games, ‘Do what I say, when I say, and how I say, and you’ll come home with the gold,’” Homer said. “He never said it would be easy.”

At 6-2 and 205 pounds, Walters said Homer, who started out kickboxing as a way to exercise, has a “devastating right side kick.”

“I love using the side kicks,” Homer said. “I left a lot of sweat and blood in the ring, not to mention a few cracked ribs along the way, but when they put the gold medal around your neck, it’s all worth it.”

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