Shepherd, Texas – The State Program Director for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), Terry Gunnell, started his speech before the Deep East Texas Council of Government’s (DETCOG) Board by noting that DETCOG has the largest rural Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Foster Grandparents programs in the nation. He also said that 100% of the Counties in the region had already passed resolutions proclaiming April 7th as National Service Recognition Day. Speaking to the board and a large contingent of RSVP and Foster Grandparents program volunteers, Gunnell admitted he was focusing his efforts on establishing the Volunteers In Service To America (Vista) program in Texas. VISTA members live and serve in the poorest urban and rural areas. Their focus is to create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.
After going into their business session, the DETCOG Board passed a resolution in support of April 7th as the National day of Recognition for National Volunteer Service in all of Deep East Texas. The resolution said that service to others is a hallmark of the American character and central to how we meet our challenges. Saying that local leaders are increasingly turning to national service and volunteerism as a cost-effective strategy for meeting their community’s needs, the volunteers gain education, careers skills and leadership abilities in return. The resolution closes by encouraging residents to recognize the positive impact of national service in our region.
The board also passed two other resolutions. The first declared April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Citing statistics on child abuse cases in Texas, it went on to say that the impact of abuse and neglect has long-term personal, economic and social costs and was therefore hurting Texas’ future.
Also Declaring April as Fair Housing Month, the board adopted a resolution saying they desired to further promote and enhance the overall quality of housing conditions and standards for all citizens of Deep East Texas. DETCOG Executive Director Walter Diggles brought the board’s attention to a recently received letter from the Texas General Land Office saying that DETCOG was in compliance with its commitment to affirmatively further fair housing in Texas.
The next DETCOG Board Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 23, 2015. That meeting will be held in Shelby County.