Local Volunteers Honored with Jefferson Awards

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Four deserving residents were given a night to shine Tuesday for their volunteer efforts over the years.

The 2008 Jefferson Awards was held at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum for the fifth year. KBTX and sister station KWTX in Waco each awarded four people with the award for service to the community.

One of the four winners from the Brazos Valley, Rusleen Maurice, will represent the region at the national Jefferson Awards ceremony in Washington, DC.

Mary Mike Hatcher, Ann Wiatt and Eloise Bingham also received Jefferson Awards.

"My question of you tonight is, won't you please volunteer your time, your goods and your services, make a contribution to the town, city, state and country in which we live," Hatcher asked the crowd.

Her challenge comes with a lot of perspective, with her support of everything from the performing arts to Crime Stoppers earning her a place of distinction, along with Wiatt, who like Hatcher is an arts supporter, along with a greeter at the site of Tuesday night's event.

"As all of you must know, no one person in any organization does everything by himself or herself," Wiatt said. "It's a team effort that succeeds."

For Maurice, those teams include Habitat for Humanity, Voices for Children and the Children's Museum. She also took time to mention what's likely her greatest team.

"I think about those people who mean so much to me, including, especially my family, and I know I have never said thank you enough," Maurice said.

"There is no greater joy than to see lives changed, see women once in jail now in grocery stores," said Bingham. "I often hear back from them with letters and phone calls."

But Tuesday, Bingham heard the thanks of a community for her two decades worth of work bringing her faith-filled message to inmates.