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2019 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Grand Prairie Man Receives Governor's Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award

From left to right: TBCJ Chairman Dale Wainwright, Jim Buffington, Texas State Representative James White, and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier.

(AUSTIN) – Jim Buffington of Grand Prairie, Texas was presented the Pathfinder Award during the Governor’s 2019 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award program today. The award is given to an individual or group that has demonstrated leadership qualities in their volunteer service and made significant contributions to the welfare of victims.

The award was presented by Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Dale Wainwright and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier during a ceremony in Austin.

“Volunteering is a responsibility that these recipients have embraced wholeheartedly and for that we are extremely grateful,” said Wainwright.

“These volunteers dedicate themselves each day to helping others succeed,” said Collier. “For many years to come, the impact of that invaluable time and effort invested will be felt across the state of Texas.”

At the age of 12, Jim Buffington was devastated when his mother was found murdered. One year later, he suffered another heart-wrenching blow when it was revealed that his father and two other men were arrested and incarcerated for conspiracy in his mother’s murder which was also meant to include Jim and his two younger brothers. Buffington has experienced both sides of the criminal justice system – as the relative of a death row offender and as a crime victim. But instead of withdrawing and becoming bitter, he chose a path of healing and forgiveness. As a volunteer with TDCJ’s Victim Services Division and various prison ministries, Buffington has helped many crime victims, as well as offenders, to follow the same path he chose.

This is not the first time Buffington has been honored by the governor for his volunteerism. In 2008, he was the recipient of the Carol S. Vance Volunteer of the Year Service Award.

Mr. Buffington is one of 16 individuals and 6 organizations from across the state recognized for their efforts to help offenders 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 while aiding and comforting their victims.

In FY2018, there were 21,728 volunteers who provided a total of 399,705 hours of service.

Note to media: For more information, contact Jeremy Desel, TDCJ Director of Communications, at 936-437-6052 or by e-mail at – For high resolution photos of award recipients, contact Jeff Linderman at