Chris Jones, Deputy Director of Public Affairs and CLEAT Family/Survivor Assistance Officer was recently nominated for the 2012 Concerns of Police Survivors(COPS) Suzie Sawyer Distinguished Service Award. Jones was nominated by Amanda Hurst, the surviving widow of Warden Justin Hurst who was killed in the line of duty on March 17, 2007. Jones has been instrumental in helping draft and advocate legislation that has assisted hundreds of surviving families with continued health insurance. Over the years, Jones has not only helped surviving families with continued health insurance coverage, but also with workers comp and state benefits.
In her nomination letter, Amanda Hurst gives credit to CLEAT and Jones. “CLEAT had no obligation to help me. But they made it their obligation to help me, and many other survivors throughout Texas,” writes Hurst.
“Because of Chris Jones, I now have the comfort in knowing no matter how my life may change, I will always be able to have health insurance coverage,” said Ashlee Hardy of Plano, surviving spouse of Wes Hardy who was killed in the line of duty on July 7, 2007.
A former legislator stopped Charley Wilkison in the hallway of the Capitol in 2008 to tell him about a rumor regarding survivor family insurance issues. The former representative indicated that CLEAT was the only group that would be interested in helping right the wrongs done to these surviving families. Wilkison called Amanda Hurst and set up the initial meeting in the CLEAT office in Austin.
“This is just another example of CLEAT going beyond the call of duty to help folks who had fallen through the cracks and weren’t getting any political traction from other organizations that the fallen officers had paid dues to during their career,” said Charley Wilkison, Director of CLEAT Public Affairs.
“All CLEAT employees are proud of the hard work we do on behalf of the fallen of Texas and their families. Chris’ work on this project deserves recognition and we are pleased by his nomination and consideration for this award. His commitment to the POMF is another reason I have assigned the daily operations of family outreach to his care,” said Wilkison.
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Jones was given a plaque for his nomination which he proudly displays on the wall of his office.