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Rehabilitation Programs Division

Volunteer Services Program

2012 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

San Antonio Man Receives Governor's 2012 Criminal Justice Volunteer Award

Photo of Award Winner(s)

(AUSTIN) - Don Zercher of San Antonio was presented the Governor's 2012 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award today in recognition of his dedication to helping former offenders of 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. Zercher 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.

Zercher was the recipient of this year's "Substance Abuse Treatment Program" Award.

Don is a faith-based volunteer serving in the Parole Chaplaincy area. He teaches a faith-based Celebrate Recovery program to 30 offenders every Monday evening from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. in the San Antonio Parole Office. It is because of his own personal background as a former offender that he can guide the parolees to bring about lasting solutions for their successful re-entry into society. Any given week, Don spends a minimum of 3 - 4 hours preparing for his one hour class. His teaching and life coaching skills provide a foundation for accountability, support and encouragement for those offenders who are truly trying to change their lives. Don diversifies his volunteer skills and talents as well.

When he is not preparing and teaching his celebrate recovery class, Zercher also actively volunteers at the Dominguez Unit in the faith-based dorm. He is also a talented musician and active member of the musical group, "Paid In Full", a gifted group of ex-prisoners who give their testimonies of their changed lives through the power of Christ.

Zercher is one of thousands of concerned volunteers, who like him, 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.

Note to media: For more information, contact Jason Clark, TDCJ Public Information Officer, at 936-437-6052 or by e-mail at