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2015 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Slaton 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, Keynote Speaker Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, John T. Thornbury and Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Brad Livingston.

(AUSTIN) – John Thornbury of Slaton, Texas was presented the Correctional Institutions Division Volunteer Award during the Governor’s 2015 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.

“We’re grateful for the efforts of these award recipients,” said Livingston. “These everyday heroes are making a profound and lasting impact on the lives of individuals across the state.”

“Through their grace and their love, these volunteers touch the lives of many Texans,” said Bell. “They assist agency staff, and they help the offenders and their families have a chance for a better life - impacting generations to come.”

Certified Volunteer Chaplain’s Assistant (CVCA) John Thornbury began working for TDCJ as a Correctional Officer at the age of 60 and then retired at the age of 70. Shortly after his retirement, he became the dorm pastor at the John T. Montford Unit in Lubbock, Texas. On Tuesday and Friday nights you can find him volunteering at the unit’s Regional Medical Facility (RMF). He loads up his bright red cart with books, ministry material, Bibles, prayer cards and other items before going door-to-door to be a positive influence in the offenders’ lives.

He is passionate about people and especially those who are mentally challenged. Because of his experience and training as a Correctional Officer, it has helped him better serve these kinds of offenders.

When not volunteering for TDCJ, Mr. Thornbury is watching football or basketball games, reading or gardening.

Mr. Thornbury is one of 16 individuals and 5 organizations from across the state recognized for their efforts to help inmates and those who are on parole or probation. They 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.

In FY2014, there were 21,492 volunteers who served a total of 427,345 hours.

Note to media: For more information, contact Robert C. Hurst, TDCJ Public Information Officer, at 936-437-6052 or by e-mail at Photos of award recipients will be available on the TDCJ Web site at For high resolution photos, please contact Jene Andersen at