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BTL Awards and Recognition

  • John Sage was honored to be chosen by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice from among over 20,000 volunteers as the 2017 Carol Vance Volunteer of the Year.
    In 2015, BTL received the Offender Program of the Year Award by the American Correctional Chaplains Association. This prestigious national award is presented to the prison program deemed most creative, effective, and outcome-based in the United States each year.

  • Tac Buchanan, Bridges To Life's Regional Coordinator for Amarillo and the Panhandle, received the Governor’s Criminal Justice Award  for 2014 (a BTL volunteer has received this award every year since 2001!). 
  • In 2013, Connie Hilton, Bridges To Life's Northeast Regional Coordinator, received the Governor’s Criminal Justice Award.
  • John Sage was named a 2011 Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures' Encore Careers.
  • Bridges To Life received the 2011 Social Innovator Award for the 28th Annual Governor's Volunteer Award, 
  • John Sage was the inaugural recipient of theAmerican Leadership Forum Houston Chapter Public Service Award in May 2011. 
  • John Sage was one of three finalists representing our Houston Astros for the 2009 People All Stars Among Us award.  People and Major League Baseball looked all over the country for "everyday All-Stars" who have gone above and beyond to serve their community, and John was one of them. 
  • John Sage was the inaugural recipient of the Bert Thompson Pioneer Award for Community and Restorative Justice, presented at the 2009 National Conference on Restorative Justice.  The award is given to a person that embodies “the characteristics that Bert Thompson brought to his work to broaden the application of community and restorative justice principles and practices.” 
  • San Antonio area volunteer Terrie Reagan received the Restorative Justice Volunteer of the Year award, recognizing the contributions of a volunteer or organization that “promotes the repair, restoration, and reintegration of offenders, victims and the community.”  There are over 15,000 approved prison volunteers in Texas, and the Governor's Award is only given to a very select few.
  • In 2008, we were selected for several awards that recognize the unique and effective work of Bridges To Life.  On April 24, John Sage was inducted into the St. Thomas High School Hall of Honor.  St. Thomas was founded in Houston in 1900 and this special recognition is given to those alumni who best model the spirit of St. Thomas.  Members are chosen who personify the Basilian motto, "Teach me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge," as well as having achieved excellence in their professional lives.  Whether it is in service to church, community, state, athletics, education, science, military or family, all Hall of Honor members are recognized by their peers as having achieved an exceptional level of success to which all current students and alumni can aspire.  For further information, visit http://www.sths.org/about/hallofhonor/index.html.
  • Due to the outstanding work and progress of Bridges To Life, John Sage was chosen as the 2008 recipient of the Houston Young Lawyers Association's Liberty Bell Award.  This award recognizes an outstanding non-lawyer who had made the most selfless contribution to his or her community to strengthen the effectiveness of the American system of justice by instilling a better understanding and appreciation of the law.  Judge Bill Burke, a Bridges To Life volunteer, of the 189th District Court in Harris County, introduced John.
  • John and Frances Sage received the Samaritan Spirit Award, presented by the Samaritan Center for Counseling & Education, at the 2008 Annual Gala on October 23 at River Oaks Country Club.  The award is being given for “openness to mental health issues and willingness to help those who have run afoul of the legal system.”
  • In 2004, Bridges To Life received the Social Entrepreneurship Award from the Manhattan Institute.  The award is given to honor nonprofit leaders who have founded innovative, private organizations to help address some of America’s most pressing social problems.


In addition to these honors, BTL has been the subject of numerous articles and television features. Articles have appeared in Texas Monthly, the Houston Chronicle, The San Antonio Express News, Faith Works Magazine, Restorative Justice News and the Austin American Statesman, to name a few. Features have appeared on news shows in Houston, Tyler, Beaumont and San Antonio; and PBS featured Bridges To Life in its “Living Smart” series. Finally, the Bridges To Life program and volunteers have been given significant recognition in three books published in 2004 including Restoring Peace: Using Lessons From Prison to Mend Broken Relationships, by Kirk Blackard, a Bridges To Life volunteer.