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2014 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Goodrich Man Receives Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award

From left to right: Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Oliver Bell, John Yaws, Keynote Speaker Judge Cathy Cochran and Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Brad Livingston.

(Austin) – John Yaws was presented the “Religious Service” award during the Governor’s 2014 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award program today.

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. Yaws is one of 15 individuals and 6 organizations from across the state recognized for their efforts to help inmates and those who are on parole or probation.

“These men and women give their time not for monetary reward,” said Livingston. “They volunteer because they have a personal passion in seeing others succeed. We are grateful for their selfless dedication.”

Yaws is a Certified Volunteer Chaplains Assistant who has shown care and compassion with the offender population. His presence with offenders housed on Death Row goes above and beyond the call of duty. He attends to the needs of each offender regardless of their faith and does not allow his own faith convictions to interfere in sharing with them.

Yaws also serves on the Witness Support Liaison where he ministers to families of Death Row offenders.

Yaws is a U.S. Army veteran who says he was motivated by “the call of God” to volunteer with TDCJ. He and his wife Virginia have three children and three grandchildren. John lists hunting and shooting as interests.

As a vital partner who ministers to Death Row offenders and their families, Yaws has been chosen to receive the Religious Service volunteer award.

Yaws 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, some 21,000 volunteers make 145,000 visits to criminal justice facilities and work with offenders who are on supervision, donating some 460,000 hours of service.

Note to media: For more information, contact Jason Clark at – Photos of award recipients will be available on the TDCJ Web site at For high resolution photos, please contact Jene Andersen at