Traditions tell the story of our past while shaping our future. They also give us the chance to show our gratitude. That’s why Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council recognized six city employees with Bravo Awards this month, for continuing the tradition of giving back in our city.
“You not only do a great job for the City of Houston, you do much for the community of Houston,” Mayor Turner said to Bravo winners at the award ceremony held May 8 at City Council.
The Bravo Awards recognize city employees whose selfless service on-the-job and in the community are creating a positive impact across our city. From mentoring local youth to helping our homeless population, the 2018 Bravo winners touch the lives of many.
This is the fifth year of the Bravo Awards since being reinstated in 2014 after a three-year break. The Bravo Awards were initially introduced in 2002 to recognize city employees’ volunteer efforts after Tropical Storm Allison.
“We appreciate everything you do,” Council Member Brenda Stardig said.
Meet your 2018 Bravo Award Winners:
Derek Holmes, Business Development Coordinator
Office of Business Opportunity, Contract Compliance
Though Derek Holmes has only served the city a short time, he has made a big impact on the community. He mentors students in grades 6 to 12 every other Saturday about leadership, finance, and life skills via the nonprofit organization 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston.
For the past two years, Holmes has served as the director of a Historical Black College Tour for 65 students across 17 college campuses. He also served as membership co-chairman for the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce.
His volunteerism is ensuring a bright future for many youths in the Houston area.
Linda Giles-Terrell, Senior 911 Telecommunicator
Houston Emergency Center
Linda Giles-Terrell’s strong sense of faith has guided her life of service.
For the past 30 years, she has volunteered at Refuge Temple Ministries.
Giles-Terrell leads the mature women Bible study group, serves as an usher and a Bible school teacher, answers calls on the church prayer line and also volunteers with the church’s broadcast team.
Giles-Terrell also volunteers with Highways and Hedges, an on-the-road ministry.
She has provided 28 years of service to the city, working through many inclement weather events such as Tropical Storm Allision, Hurricane Ike and most recently, Hurricane Harvey.
She is a member of the Employee Discipline Committee and volunteers at various public safety health fairs. She carries the spirit of giving back wherever she goes.
Mary Itz, Principal Planner
Housing and Community Development Department, Planning and Grants Management
Mary Itz understands what it means to give back.
Over the past six years she has served as lead volunteer, treasurer and lead archivist for the Junior League of Houston, a nonprofit whose community outreach efforts focuses on basic needs, abuse of women and children, healthcare, education and cultural enrichment.
For the past year, she has served as a board member for Main Street Theater.
Itz also works to keep Houston traditions alive through her volunteerism with the Houston Rodeo and Preservation Houston.
She is a dedicated volunteer who is committed to helping others.
Muhammad Wadia, Financial Analyst
Muhammad Wadia is truly a community hero.
After Harvey waters flooded thousands of Houston homes, he stepped up to help residents rebuild.
Wadia rallied a group of volunteers to clean up homes in Katy, Sugarland, the Woodlands and Richmond areas.
Wadia and his team of volunteers worked days, nights and weekends in the weeks following the devastation of Harvey, helping to clean 40 flooded homes.
Not only did he coordinate cleanup efforts, he visited shelters to assist those with special dietary needs due to religious tenets.
He also coordinated pick up and drop off services for those whose cars had flooded. His actions during a catastrophic time in our city are truly what the Bravo Awards truly stand for, selfless service to the community.
Sheldon Theragood, Houston Police Department Officer
Homeless Outreach Team
When it comes to finding inspiration, you don’t have to look any further than Sheldon Theragood.
After becoming a Houston Police Officer, he founded Theragood Deeds, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring, counseling and outreach opportunities to encourage a positive impact on local youth.
Theragood Deeds has held multiple events including Beat the Heat for Houston Homeless, Real Talk with Youth, Christmas for Kids, Thanksgiving and Veterans Day outreach, an annual Easter egg hunt and brunch for kids, and a Valentine’s Day outreach for nursing home residents.
As a member of HPD’s homeless outreach team, he connects homeless people with basic services to help them rebuild their lives.
This year, he received the Life Saving Award from Police Chief Art Acevedo for his recovery efforts after Harvey. His passion for helping local youth, the homeless, and the community is a shining example of public service.
Verdis Wilson, Audit Supervisor
Houston Public Works, Office of the Director, Internal Review Section
For the past 15 years, Verdis Wilson has volunteered at New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, where he has been a member since he was a child.
He serves as treasurer on the church’s Finance Committee. This year, Wilson helped coordinate “Soup -er – bowl” for the church, a food drive benefitting Houston’s homeless. Last year, Wilson became a deacon, and assists with church offerings and communion.
He donates annually to Texas Southern University and serves as president of TSU’s School of Business Alumni Chapter and is a board member for TSU’s School of Business Advisory Council. He also serves as vice president of finance for TSU’s National Alumni Association.
Since 2013, he has volunteered with the Mayor’s Annual Back to School Fest.
Wilson’s service to the community and the city are truly exceptional.