Bryan - For the past 15 years Jason James has served and protected the Bryan community as a police officer, but his service to Bryan doesn't stop with his badge. As a 2014 Jefferson Award recipient, James is being honored for his involvement with Special Olympics Texas.
"I work this job during the day then all the events we volunteer our time and we try to organize it to get all the officers there. And to me I just include this as part of my job, helping out with the Special Olympics. I never look at is as all the hours volunteering", said James.
Nearly 15 years of volunteering with Special Olympics Texas, you could lose count of the hours. But the lives Jason has touched with his kindness and dedication are countless.
"They enjoy seeing the officers out there just giving high fives and hugs. That to me is whats the main part of the importance of being involved. They are happy to see you, you are happy to see them. That's what the big picture is. To them they are playing a game trying to win a medal and to us we are trying to keep them healthy and active," James said of his time with the athletes.
From the torch run before the games to tireless fundraising efforts for athletes, Jason hopes his involvement with Special Olympics Texas changes the way people see police officers.
"A lot of the community always sees the officers taking people to jail or writing a ticket but we are people here that live here and work here so we try to get out there and give a different perspective of police officers so the athletes are not scared of us. So I hope that I'm remembered as someone who was good to the community and helped out and a part of it," said James.
One of Jason's most memorable volunteer efforts is heading up "Tip-A-Cop", a nationwide fundraising event for the Special Olympics where law enforcement acts as the wait staff at local restaurants. Under Jason's coordination Bryan/College Station officers have raised more than 10,000 dollars a year, the highest amount earned at any Tip-a-Cop in the county.