Outstanding Public Servants Honored at Jefferson Awards

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Kim Schams, the founder of Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach, was selected to represent the Brazos Valley in Washington, DC, as part of Tuesday night's Jefferson Awards ceremony.

Schams was among five local winners of Jefferson Awards, which were established by the American Institute for Public Service to honor those who dedicate their lives to public service.

In 1997, Schams decided to start the outreach after adopting two children of her own. In her speech Tuesday night, she praised the birth mothers of her children.

"They knew that just because adoption caused them to feel sad, that it did not make adoption a bad or a wrong decision," Schams said. "I dedicate this Jefferson Award to Pam and Amy, my personal heroes in adoption."

You can see and read more about all the Jefferson Award winners in the special section of KBTX.com, which is linked at the end of this story.

Through Schams' efforts, adopting parents have received counceling and parenting options. Since 2002 when the group received its adoption agency licence, 22 children have found homes in the area.

Four other volunteers were honored for their work in the Brazos Valley:

-Emily Staples, the South Brazos County fire chief and an employee at the A&M College of Architecture

-Marilyn Austin and Debbie Andrick, who began a prison Bible ministry

-Jim Stegall, a retired educator who volunteers at Project Unity and St. Joseph Regional Health Center.

This is the fourth year KBTX and its sister station, KWTX, have hosted the Jefferson Awards from the George Bush Presidential Library.