Jefferson Awards Honors Local Volunteers

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As many of you saw Tuesday night on KBTX, it was another proud moment for the Brazos Valley as we honored this year's Jefferson Award recipients.

The 2006 Jefferson Award recipients typify the diversity of the Brazos Valley. But even though they come from different walks of life, the four honorees have much in common, namely their love for others.

"Serving my community and my church is not something I ever did to gain any personal recognition," said Reba Ragsdale. "It was entrenched in me when I was a little girl."

And Ragsdale wasn't the only one to credit positive parental influences. Dr. Bill Birdwell says the lessons he learned as a kid have served him well in adulthood.

"My parents taught me that you don't have to be the best but to always try to do your best," Birdwell said. "Another put it this way: be your best for the world."

Madison County made it's first appearance in the Jefferson Awards with a very worthy representative. Shelly Stover of Madisonville shared her simple, but powerful, personal belief on serving others.

"I believe with all my heart that volunteering is the rent we pay for living on God's earth," she said.

That same notion was echoed in remarks by Bryan's own Lester Banks. His remarkable rise from a tough childhood to a position of community leadership serves as an inspiration to all. And his love for his community and the people in it is evident.

"I believe in giving back to my community," he said. "That's why I can say Bryan-College Station is a great place to live."

Banks was chosen to represent the Brazos Valley at the National Jefferson Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. But any of the four would've been a great choice. Because on this night, the Brazos Valley was truly represented by its very best.