ABOVE: Bravo Award Recipients
Every year, the City of Houston honors select city employees whose volunteerism in the community and service to the city are making a positive impact in people’s lives.
The Bravo Awards are among the ways the City of Houston celebrates Public Service Recognition Week, which is celebrated annually in the first week of May, to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county, and local government employees.
Here are your 2022 Bravo winners:
James Bell, Administration Manager, Houston Health Department
Bell is a community mentor whose selfless volunteerism is changing lives. As a mission member of Crossover Bible Fellowship Church, Bell mentors and provides financial assistance to at-risk young men living in Ghana, Africa. James provides guidance on education, finances, entrepreneurship, and more. He is set to travel to Ghana in July to do school repairs, assist with a vocational bible school, and help set up a mentoring program for young boys. Bell serves an administration manager for the Health Department’s Community Re-Entry Network Program and the My Brother’s Keeper Redirect Program. His work positively influences the path of men reentering society after incarceration, and at-risk young men in need of guidance. Bell’s work in the juvenile justice system has helped young men imagine a better life through social outings and presentations that spark hope.
Na’shon Edwards, Director of Constituent Services and Housing Researcher, District F, Office of Council Member Tiffany D. Thomas
Service comes first for Na’shon Edwards. For the past seven years, Edwards has volunteered through the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, spearheading projects with Meals on Wheels, National Night Out in Piney Woods, community clean-ups, blood drives, days of service, and Adopt-A-Family during the holidays. Through his membership with Emerging 100 Houston, he assists with fundraising efforts that supports community clean-ups in the Houston Heights community. Edwards also volunteers with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, an organization that assists communities. Thanks to his work, Edwards received a grant to implement his community dinner concept in the Piney Point community. He also volunteers with Leading Together, an initiative that builds community relationships, organization, and resiliency. Edwards also serves on the Leading Together Curriculum Advisory Board. His overall work for District F helps to improve office operations, while resolving constituent concerns. He is always willing to help and adheres to Council Member Thomas’ standards of excellence.
Stephanie Fannin, Airport Operations Specialist, Houston Airport System
Rescue is a word Stephanie Fannin knows well. As a volunteer foster for the Great Dane Rescue of Southeast Texas, she works to save the lives of dogs in need. After the passing of her Great Dane Duke, she got involved with rescue work in his memory. Since 2020, she has helped to rescue, foster, and rehabilitate Great Danes in need of a loving home. Fannin helps these extra-large breed dogs get a second chance at life. Ebby, the Great Dane she is currently foresting, was an owner surrender who was living tied up in a backyard with little access to food and water. Ebby was in desperate need of medical attention, underweight, and had a bad skin condition. Over the past year, Fannin has helped Ebby make a full recovery. She has also served as a foster for BARC, the City of Houston’s Animal Shelter, and Adoption Facility. Fannin’s rescue work is saving lives, one dog at a time.
Amaka Unaka, Chief of Staff, District D, Office of Council Member Carolyn Evans-Shabazz
At the onset of the pandemic, Amaka Unaka found herself in an unimageable situation as schools and the city shut down. Like many parents, she wanted her daughter to receive an education despite challenges the pandemic presented. During the 2020 – 2021 school year, Unaka hosted a learning pod called the Black Girl Magic School. Five pre-k students, including her daughter Ure, would be able to continue their development of preschool skills. This selfless act gave the girls a sense of normalcy. Unaka also serves her community as a manager on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for the Junior League of Houston. In this role she helps to advance inclusion in the community. Unaka is currently working on a symposium that will educate the community on the benefits of expunging their record and connect them to resources. Her work in the community is helping to create lasting connections.
Beverly Williams, Senior Payroll Clerk, Houston Police Department
Beverly Williams believes in second chances. For the past 10 years, she has volunteered with Loving Word Fellowship Church. Beverly assists with the Liberty for Captive Ministry, helping men and women recently released from prison find purpose after prison. She provides prayer and guidance on how to move forward with life after being incarcerated. Beverley further lifts up these men and women by sourcing clothing and monetary donations for the ministry. Through these donations, participants receive clothing and toiletries to prepare for job interviews. Beverly also helps administer a 12-week program that further helps participants realize their potential and purpose. Through the Liberty for Captive Ministry, Beverly has helped more than 500 men and women get a second chance at life and happiness. Her volunteerism creates hope for people often overlooked and forgotten by society.
Gregory Williams, Senior Inspector, Houston Public Works
Leaving behind a past of homelessness and drug and alcohol abuse, Gregory Williams decided to embark on a spiritual path to help turn his life around. His journey led him to get involved in the church. Gregory eventually founded G-Will Talk Ministries in 2013. The nonprofit ministry helps the lost recover from life challenges through testimony. In 2020, Gregory created United Blessing Ministry, an outreach of G-Will Talk Ministries that seeks to provide necessities to Houston’s homeless community. Gregory has spent more than a decade in service to others volunteering in the community for organizations such as Mufasa’s Pride, Windsor Village United Methodist Church, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and the Salvation Army. Gregory also serves on the HPW Ministers Council, serving the spiritual and emotional needs of Public Works employees. Through his ministries and volunteerism, Gregory advocates for those in need and helps them find their purpose.