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Banquet helps fund homeless shelter - Odessa American: News

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Banquet helps fund homeless shelter

Salvation Army set to honor local heroes

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Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 5:00 am

Sometimes just a little bit of help can make all the difference in the life of someone who is struggling.

Georgia native Shawn Brown is a Marine who served from 1991 to 1995 until he was medically discharged following an injury in Israel. He served in Bosnia and Somalia and is a third-generation military man.

Brown came to West Texas but discovered he did not have a job. With a marriage ending and no work, he needed a hand. He said he reached out to the VA and they pointed him to the Salvation Army where he is now staying and also working as a maintenance man.

Looking to either go back to college or to the police academy, Brown said he is enjoying the work at the Salvation Army and being able to give back to the community.

“I can give back to my community and I want to step forward,” Brown said. “It means everything. The Salvation Army supplies all I need and helps give people the tools they need to survive.”

He said you can see the good in people and get pointed in the right direction.

Brown will give his testimony about the good work the Salvation Army does during Thursday’s Odessa Heroes banquet.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Salvation Army gym at 810 E. 11th St. The doors to the homeless shelter will open at 5:30 p.m. for tours.

The event benefits the homeless shelter and celebrates Odessans who do good work for both the Salvation Army and other charities.

Funds raised the last three years have gone to helping remodel the shelter. Lt. Juan Gomez reports that the renovations are going well but that there have also been setbacks as undetected leaks and plumbing issues were discovered during renovations.

Gomez encourages Odessans to take a look at the renovations at 5:30 Thursday prior to the start of the banquet.


Letticia Martinez, an integrated marketing and advertising specialist manager in the advertising industry, specializes in the Southwest U.S. Latino markets. She was recognized in May as the leading corporate Latina in Odessa and will be featured in the upcoming Hispanic Heritage of Odessa poster and calendar commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month. She has spent the last 30 years involved and active with many community organizations including the Salvation Army of Odessa, Hispanic Heritage of Odessa, the Hispanic Cultural Center of Midland and the ACTS Ministry with St. Stephens Catholic Church in Midland.

Judge Sara Kate Billingsley is presiding judge of the 446th District Court of Ector County and is the first female district judge of Ector County. She is an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. She spent five years on the board of Harmony Home Children’s Advocacy Center, five years on the board of Catholic Charities, six years on the board of The United Way of Odessa with one year as the Pillar Chairman, seven years active in the Junior League of Odessa, and four years on the board of Food2Kids, with one year as its president. Billingsley is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the State Bar of New Mexico, Texas Young Lawyers Association, New Mexico Young Lawyers Association, the Ector County Bar Association serving two years as its Treasurer and two years as its president, and is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. She is on the board of directors for Downtown Odessa, Inc., the Boys and Girls Club of Odessa and Pink the Basin.

Gloria G. Apolinario is the regional director for Congressman Mike Conaway, U.S. House of Representatives, TX-11. She has been a member of the board of the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Centers for Children and Family, March of Dimes, Catholic Charities, Hispanic Heritage, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, among others. Apolinario is presently the chair of the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army. She has also been involved with the Ector County Republican Women for the past 14 years.

A naturalized American citizen of Filipino heritage, she has served as Lector and Eucharistic Minister for the churches she belonged to and areas where she lived for the last 40 years.

Kathy Swindler began her career in television as art director turned promotions manager. She produced the Easter Seals and MDA telethons. One of her favorite projects was the Salvation Army Toy Drive. What started with toys covering the news desk, ended with two semi-trucks completely full of toys, one for Midland and one for Odessa.

In 2006, she moved to Investment Corporation of America as VP-Director of Marketing. She oversees the in-house agency for ICA, which owns over 300 properties. She is currently serving her second term as president of the Permian Basin Honor Flight Board. Honor Flight has flown seven charter flights with almost 700 Veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials built in their honor.

Over the years she has served on multiple boards and advisory committees including the United Way of Odessa, Food 2 Kids, Midland Odessa Area Aids Support, Feast of Sharing, the Ellen Noel Art Museum, Basin PBS, Heritage Holiday and Midland Need to Read. She was a Eucharistic Minister for St. Mary’s for over 15 years.

Hank Herrick is from West Virginia and after graduating high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1983. He served 30 years in the Air Force attaining the rank of chief master sergeant and retiring in 2013. He joined UTPB as the university training coordinator and then operations manager for the university Physical Plant. In 2016, he was named executive director of the United Way of Odessa.

Odessa, TX

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