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2012 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

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

Photo of Award Winner(s)

(AUSTIN) - Doris Zercher of San Antonio was presented the Governor's 2012 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award today in recognition of her 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 the "Carol S. Vance Volunteer of the Year" Award, named after former TBCJ Chairman and current chaplaincy volunteer, Carol S. Vance.

Mrs. Doris Zercher is a faithful and dedicated volunteer. She is dedicated to teaching a faith-based substance abuse recovery class once a week at the San Antonio Parole Office. It is easy to discern from her teaching, she spends quality time planning, preparing, and presenting her weekly messages. Her lessons are comprehensive, identifying and meeting the needs of the thirty offenders who faithfully attend her class. Her students appreciate her kind, compassionate although tough approach.

Through the efforts of her church, her husband, and the TDCJ Parole Office, a new faith-based Substance Abuse class began at her church. This gives the San Antonio parolees an opportunity to attend an approved substance abuse class on Sunday mornings, which allows the parolees to meet their requirements while not causing a disruption to their work schedule.

As an ordained minister, Doris Zercher has been called upon to be a mentor, minister, and teacher to many parolees in the South Texas area. She and her husband, Don, a fellow award recipient, have been selected by their church to be their representatives for the Restorative Justice Ministries in San Antonio, TX. They currently minister together at the Faith-based dorm at the Dominguez unit.

Zercher 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.

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