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TDCJ joins SHSU for Veterans Day Salute to Service

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In observation of this year’s Veterans Day, Sam Houston State University (SHSU) and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) hosted a Salute to Service ceremony during the SHSU versus Northwestern State football game on November 16 at Bowers Stadium in Huntsville.

SHSU provided 1,000 free tickets for TDCJ employees to see the Bearkats game where, before the playing of the national anthem, dozens of correctional officers and members of the SHSU Reserve Officers’ Training Corps took to the field to unfurl and display a large American flag while the stadium announcer highlighted TDCJ employees’ commitment to public service.

During a break in the game, Correctional Institutions Division Lieutenant Gordon Salazar of the Criminal Justice Center was recognized by the enthusiastic crowd for his exemplary representation of the agency’s core values of perseverance, integrity, courage and commitment, along with his four years of active-duty service with the U.S. Army. When he left Army life, Salazar recalled “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Somebody told me, ‘Hey, come to work for TDCJ.’ I felt like it was a continuation of my service to my community.”

Like many service veterans working at TDCJ, Salazar understands the value of confident teamwork when working in a potentially hazardous environment: “There is a sense of brotherhood amongst the officers which I really enjoy and appreciate. Just us looking after one another, making sure that everyone goes home each and every day the same way they came in.”

Salazar was accompanied on the field by TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier and Training and Leader Development Division Director David Yebra. Yebra noted that this year’s Salute to Service was partial compensation for the sacrifices made by “Team and family, that’s who we want to give back to. Little by little.”