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2014 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Amarillo Man Receives Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award

Photo of Award Winner(s) From left to right: Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Oliver Bell, Michael “Tac” Buchanan, Keynote Speaker Judge Cathy Cochran and Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Brad Livingston.

(Austin) – Michael “Tac” Buchanan was presented the Restorative Justice 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 during a ceremony held in Austin. Buchanan 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.”

Buchanan was the recipient of the Restorative Justice award. “Tac”, to those who know him, began his work at the Bill Clements Unit in 2009 where he now leads the Bridges to Life program that meets twice a week.

Tac’s wife was murdered in 1998 and he tried to find solace in narcotics and alcohol before landing in the TDCJ on drug charges. Through the unconditional love of a TDCJ Chaplain, he was able to turn his life around, as well as find it within himself to forgive the offender who killed his wife shortly before his execution.

After his release from TDCJ, Tac was a volunteer Chaplain for the Randall County Jail where he first learned about Bridges to Life. He leads the offender and helps them understand how their crime affected the victims and their family. He now coordinates Bridges to Life programs at the Clements Unit, the Neal Unit, the Jordan Unit and the Tulia Transfer Unit. Tac promotes the repair, restoration and reintegration of offenders, victims and the community.

Tac has 2 children and 1 grandchild and spends his free time riding motorcycles.

Tac 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