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2013 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Hondo area man receives Governor’s Criminal Justice Pathfinder Award

Photo of Award Winner(s) TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston, Mark Ross, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and TBCJ Vice-Chair Tom Mechler (l-r).

(Austin) - Hondo area resident Mark Ross received the Governor’s 2013 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Pathfinder Award today in recognition of his 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 Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Executive Director Brad Livingston during a ceremony held in Austin. Ross is one of 20 recipients from across Texas recognized for their efforts to help state 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.

Ross’ life was forever changed on June 18, 2005, when his stepdaughter Christy, whom he had raised as his own, was shot at point blank range by her boyfriend. At the time of Christy’s murder, Mark had been employed as a correctional officer with TDCJ for more than 10 years. He was referred to Victim Services immediately following the murder, where he received information, assistance and support in exercising his crime victim’s rights.

After the trial in 2007, Mark began volunteering by speaking on Victim Impact Panels through the Victim Services Division. Through the years, Ross has participated in over 30 panels sharing the details of the traumatic experience of his daughter’s murder in an effort to increase victim awareness and sensitivity. He is a frequent speaker at the Parole Officer Training Academy and currently works as a correctional officer at the Torres Unit. According to his colleagues, Ross is positively impacting the criminal justice system and for this he has been selected for the prestigious Victim Services Division’s Pathfinder Award.

Ross is one of thousands of concerned volunteers who 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, approximately 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, Director of Public Information, at 936-437-6052 or by e-mail at