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2019-2020 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards

Willis Couple Receives Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award

(AUSTIN) – Dr. Paul Looney and his wife Teri Looney of Willis, Texas were presented the Best Family Program Award during the Governor’s 2020-2021 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards program today.

The award was presented by Texas Board of Criminal Justice Chairman Patrick O’Daniel and TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier during an online ceremony.

“These volunteers give their time and talents to help others throughout Texas,” said O’Daniel. “They selflessly serve because they feel a responsibility to help others.”

“These volunteers dedicate themselves daily to helping others succeed,” said Collier. “In the coming years, the scope of the precious time and effort that they invested will be evident across the State of Texas.”

Dr. Looney and his wife Teri are marriage counselors who volunteer their time and services to the inmates throughout TDCJ. Inmates’ wives are invited to attend seminars with their incarcerated husbands. The Looney’s marriage seminars have been conducted within TDCJ for the past 10 years. Three marriage seminars are conducted within a calendar year with a follow-up seminar in the spring to see how couples are applying the tools they learned and how the process has made a difference in their marriage. In the fall, all couples who attended previous seminars are encouraged to attend a Marriage Seminar Reunion. The Looneys focus strongly on transforming lives and restoring relationships from the inside out. During the pandemic, the Looneys have continued to encourage the couples who have participated in their seminars. Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, they are now working on a correspondence course for couples.

The Looneys are one of 16 individuals and 6 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 FY2020, there were 19,589 volunteers who served a total of 220,502 hours.

Note to media: For more information, contact Jeremy Desel, TDCJ Director of Communications, at (936) 437-6052 or by e-mail at