NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Social workers take pride in helping other people, remaining inclusive, and avoiding judgement. It can be a thankless job, so a professional organization steps in.
In Nacogdoches, the Deep East Texas Branch of the National Association of Social Workers selected four honorees.
The Student Social Worker of the Year is Lynn Jackson. The Stephen F. Austin State University student developed a campus Red Cross chapter as she was working toward entering her second career as a social worker.
The social Worker of the Year is Brenda Dunn. She'll soon retire, but over the years, she has worked tirelessly, helping individuals and families as a mental health clinician.
Nacogdoches County Attorney John Fleming received the Elected Official of the Year. Fleming is most noted for establishing a mental health court to bridge the gaps between mental health services and the judicial system.
And the Public Citizen of the Year award went to Jim Lemon for promoting community development. Most recently, Lemon has supervised the building of community gardens for youngsters to seniors. He's also led outdoor education excursions for those with mental disorders.
Collectively, all four individuals share many of the same qualities.
"I think a good idea to get social workers embedded in the community," said Bruce McNellie, the chair of the Deep East Texas Branch of the National Association of Social Workers. "They have a lot to offer in terms of social justice, services to the poor, services to the needy, services to people who need counseling."
"Compassion, perseverance, a willingness to serve," added Dr. Ann Wilder, a Deep East Texas Branch of the National Association of Social Workers.
Each one of the district winners will have their name and achievements nominated for a state award.