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Jacinto City Police Officer Sgt. Castañeda receives Star of Texas Award from Governor

Texas Governor Greg Abbott presenting recipient Sgt. Jennifer Castaneda with Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott & Senator Sylvia Garcia. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott presenting recipient Sgt. Jennifer Castaneda with Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott & Senator Sylvia Garcia. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

AUSTIN, TX. Sept. 12, 2016 — Governor Abbott awarded the Star of Texas Award to 57 Texans, including Jacinto City’s recipient Sgt. Jennifer Simpson-Castañeda.

The Star of Texas Award, created by the 2003 Legislature, go to first responders, peace officers and firefighters who have demonstrated remarkable courage and heroism in serving and protecting their communities and who have been seriously injured or killed in the line of duty.

Following is Sgt. Castañeda recollection of the March 20, 2013 shooting where she and Lt. Dennis Walker was shot.

“I and another police unit were going to a resident to interview the suspect on an un-related case but it evolved into a domestic disturbance and the shooting. A family member who had earlier called the police prior to my arrival said there wasn’t any weapons present.

I arrived at the location first and upon doing so I observed two females and a male at the doorway, they were screaming and pushing each other. As I ran to the house, they went back inside and out of my sight. Upon immediately entering the doorway of the house, I was shot without warning; I never had a chance to talk to him or pull my gun out.

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COMMUNITY PROFILE: “Helping a Hero” honors John Painter

John Painter

John Painter

HOUSTON, Texas (September 8, 2016) – Helping A Hero presented a collection of honors to express their gratitude to a multitude of volunteers including Roger Clemens, the Honorable David Dewhurst, Deborah Duncan, David Elliott, Kevin Mathews, John Painter, Kelley Paul and the Honorable Bill White. The luncheon was held September 8 at the Hyatt Regency Houston.

“Volunteers and donors are the backbone of Helping A Hero. Without these amazing individuals, the organization would not operate as effectively as it does. Thanks to them and many others, we have been able to improve hundreds of lives through the work HAH has done for our heroes and their families,” said Rex King, Chairman of the Board.

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Houston ISD’s Furr High School awarded $10 million grant

Principal Bertie Simmons, right, receives the award at a XQ Institute award ceremony in Washington DC, along with nine other schools nationwide.

Principal Bertie Simmons, right, receives the award at a XQ Institute award ceremony in Washington DC, along with nine other schools nationwide.

September 14, 2016 – HISD’s Furr High School has won a $10 million Super School Project grant, beating out thousands of other schools who applied from across the nation.

The five-year grant, awarded by the XQ Institute, began with a call for innovative ideas for redesigning traditional American high schools to prepare students for college and the workforce. Only 10 schools were awarded grants.

Accepting the award at a ceremony in Washington D.C., Principal Bertie Simmons said the grant will help elevate Furr to a new level of achievement.

“Pretty good is not enough for us,” Dr. Simmons said. “We want to be a Super School. Just wait and watch and see what we do. It’s going to be amazing.”

HISD Trustee Diana Dávila, who represents the Furr community, said the grant will further strengthen the neighborhood high school.

“I want to commend Dr. Simmons and her team for taking the initiative to go after this highly competitive grant,” Dávila said. “HISD is a district of choice, and strong neighborhood schools such as Furr are the foundation.”

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