Methodist Healthcare Ministries awarded 2015 J.C. Montgomery Child Safety award


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Methodist Healthcare Ministries recognized for keeping Texas children safe

San Antonio — Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc., the largest private, faith-based funding source for health care services in South Texas, was recently awarded the 2015 J.C. Montgomery Child Safety Award from the Texas Office for Prevention of Developmental Disabilities (TOPPD). The award acknowledged Methodist Healthcare Ministries' Wesley Nurse Program for its active role and strong advocacy for child safety.

The recognition praised the Wesley Nurse Program's innovative and creative community activities, particularly special initiatives which improve the welfare of underserved youth in rural neighborhoods, throughout 80 different South Texas counties. In addition, Wesley Nurses were commended for the challenging nature of their work, and for influencing others to carry out the same mission.

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The event was hosted by TOPDD quest speakers Ashley Givens of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, the Honorable Leticia Van De Putte, and State Representative Gilbert Pena. Methodist Healthcare Ministries' Chief Operating Officer, George Thomas, accepted the prestigious award on Nov. 20 at the fifth annual J.C. Montgomery Child Safety Awards ceremony in the Lieutenant Governor's reception room at the Texas State Capitol. Thomas was joined by Methodist Healthcare Ministries' Director of Government Relations, Christine Yanas.

"It is an honor to be recognized by the State of Texas," conveyed George Thomas, chief operating officer at Methodist Healthcare Ministries. "Our Wesley Nurses strive to provide quality care, particularly to children in their communities, by offering health education, health promotion and the facilitation of resources for improved health and wellness. These children will one day lead our communities. They are the next generation in this country."

The award, named for former TOPDD Executive Committee Chair and Scottish Rite Hospital leader J.C. Montgomery, recognizes leaders throughout Texas who personify a wide variety of approaches to child safety. The ceremony also acts as a bridge to connect people and organizations to build upon one another's strengths and create a comprehensive knowledge around best-practices to improve child safety in the state.

Other award recipients included:

  • State Rep. Sarah Davis of Houston for her leadership in improving healthy pregnancies and mental health services for children.
  • State Sen. Judith Zaffirini of Laredo, one of the founders of TOPDD and an advocate for children in the welfare system and children with special needs.
  • George Block a founder of San Antonio Sports and developer of Viva Swim for Life who has demonstrated a life-long commitment to water safety and ensuring all children have the chance to learn how to swim.
  • Alisa De Luna, executive director of CASA of Williamson County, an advocate and respected resource for policy makers dedicated to improving the lives of children in state care.
  • Sarah Duzinski, a research scientist for Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin who is a state leader in promoting evidence-based prevention initiatives across the state, including the highly respected Period of Purple Crying program.
  • Dr. Elaine Parker of Houston, a psychologist, author and parent of a child with a traumatic brain injury who spearheaded the development and distribution of a brain injury survivor card to be used when brain injury survivors interact with police and first responders. She has been active in developing state and national educational programs.
  • Cherie Stanley, of Fred, who is an instructional technologist for a school system, a parent of a child affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, actively raising awareness in her community and a recognized educator, policy advocate and leader on FASDs locally and statewide.
  • Dolores G. Zarate, president and co-founder of Down on the Border, Inc. (serving San Antonio, Brownsville and Mission.) Zarate organizes a festival for children and is active in public policy work.
  • Will Mina, an 11-year-old sixth-grader from Dallas, who received the first special youth advocate award for engaging the Dallas City Council to improve safety around his school.
  • Peaks and Ladders, Inc., a multidisciplinary coalition providing equipment and education to prevent childhood injury and deaths.

For more information about Methodist Healthcare Ministries, please visit For more on the J.C. Montgomery Child Safety Award, visit