Skip to content

ETCOG Announces Regional Award Recipients for Exemplary Contributions to East Texas
ETCOG Announces Regional Award Recipients for Exemplary Contributions to East Texas

Pictured from top left: Sergeant Konrad Roberts with ETCOG Director Doug Shryock, Dina Carroll with Rusk Mayor Ben Middlebrooks, Paula Jimenez with ETCOG Director Wendi Horst, ETCOG Assistant Executive Director Brandy Brannon with The Genesis Group President Jim Nipp, Councilwoman Brandy Flannagan with ETCOG Director Stephanie Heffner, ETCOG Executive Director David Cleveland with Sheriff Maxey Cerliano, ETCOG Assistant Director Katey Pilgram with Nancey Hoehn, and ETCOG Board Chairman Commissioner William Hatfield

East Texas, March 26, 2024: ETCOG honored regional citizens who exemplify excellence in performance, innovation, and contributions to the community at its 105th Semi-Annual Board of Directors Meeting last week at the Jeffersonian Institute in Jefferson, Texas. The meeting was led by ETCOG’s Board Chairman, Harrison County Commissioner William Hatfield, which included celebrating seven regional award winners at the ceremony. Honoree information is as follows:


ETCOG presented a Regional First Responder Award, recognizing a first responder who has rendered extraordinary service, putting their lives on the line for our safety while performing their duties. Sergeant Konrad Roberts, from the Longview Police Department, was recognized for his dedication to ensuring the safety of his community and fellow officers. His dedication and character go beyond his duty, as he actively mentors young officers, shoulders additional responsibilities, and continuously seeks opportunities to enhance his leadership skills. Beyond his role as a sergeant and police officer, Roberts is a devoted father and full-time student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. An excerpt from his award nomination proudly states, “Konrad Roberts deserves this award for not only the commitment he gives to the Longview community through serving and protecting, but for the countless hours he spends trying to improve himself so that he can be the best possible version of himself for the people of Longview.”


ETCOG’s Regional Citizen of the Year award is designed to honor a citizen of East Texas who has contributed to the region’s well-being. Dina Carroll of Jefferson and Paula Jimenez of Longview received the awards.

Dina Carroll, a lead volunteer helping run the Friends of Jefferson Animals rescue, has been awarded this prestigious award for her dedication to animal welfare. Carroll was nominated for this award by over 50 community members for her tireless efforts in rescuing, caring for, and finding homes for abandoned and abused animals. Through her leadership efforts, she raises awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering pets, advocates for responsible pet ownership, and educates the community on animal protection issues. Friends of Jefferson Animals is a non-profit run by three volunteers, including Carroll, who also works full-time and dedicates her free time to the agency along with her son Cooper.

Paula Jimenez is passionate about supporting communities and vital resources. Raised in adversity by a single mother among seven siblings, Jiminez is a testament to hard work and resilience. Despite facing many challenges, her spirit and drive propelled her to become a first-generation college graduate, earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and psychology. During her time as a private investigator, she provided free services advocating for justice through her involvement with “The Innocence Project,” working to reunite torn families. Within our communities, she has helped release 14 innocent citizens from incarceration and helped reunite 134 children back to their families. Beyond her professional endeavors, she supports victims of human trafficking and leads fundraising initiatives for numerous nonprofits, showcasing her leadership and dedication to serving others.


The Regional Corporate Citizen of the Year award honors a corporate partner in East Texas who has contributed to the region’s well-being. The ETCOG board conferred the award to The Genesis Group in Tyler, a software solution provider that has revolutionized public safety operations while remaining deeply committed to making a lasting impact in the region. In their 35 years of operation, they have supported public safety initiatives with software to promote emergency preparedness, ensuring the safety of public safety operators and enhancing overall community resilience. One notable initiative is the groundbreaking eBONDS software platform, offered at no cost to county governments, modernizing jail operations across the ETCOG region, reducing detention periods, and streamlining bail bonding processes. Through strategic partnerships and targeted philanthropic initiatives, The Genesis Group has supported local nonprofits dedicated to addressing issues such as children’s welfare, education, and food insecurity.



Gladewater Councilwoman Brandy Flannagan has been awarded this year’s Regional Statesmanship Award for her valuable and dedicated service to regional cooperation. Flannagan was nominated by several community members, including a fellow Gladwater councilperson, who shared, “Brandy has served the Gladewater City Council tirelessly for six years and has now committed to lending her talents to and running for the office of mayor. She has been instrumental in the long process of creating a budget surplus in our city, moving the balance from $13 in 2018 to an estimated $1 million-plus this year. She brings a wealth of fiscal knowledge to the table and uses that expertise to benefit all of the citizenry.” Flanagan’s impact transcends municipal boundaries, as evidenced by her role as a business advisor for many East Texas counties through the UT Tyler Longview Small Business Development Center. Her leadership has facilitated increased engagement from local businesses, fostering economic growth and access to resources in neighboring communities.


Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano has served on the ETCOG Criminal Justice Advisory Committee for over 20 years. Through his exemplary service, he was chosen for the Regional Committee Service Award, recognizing an individual who has demonstrated a sustained, dedicated commitment to ETCOG efforts and activities. Sheriff Cerliano has been a dedicated committee member, lending his expertise, insights, and discernment to advancing regional grant recommendations and other needed services for our entire region. His tireless efforts have played a crucial role in shaping policies, initiatives, and programs to enhance public safety and promote fairness within our criminal justice system. His dedication to upholding the principles of justice, integrity, and professionalism has earned him the respect and admiration of his peers and colleagues throughout East Texas.

“Sheriff Maxey’s commitment to Public Service and servants heart can be clearly seen in how he cares for the daily welfare of the law abiding citizens of Gregg County and East Texas.” Said ETCOG Executive Director David Cleveland. “His contributions to the County and the region over the past 25 years go well beyond the scope of this award. We are fortunate to have him as our Sherriff and I am glad we could honor him in this way!”


This year, ETCOG initiated the Regional Shining Star Award to recognize persons who have provided exceptional support or invaluable partnership to the East Texas Council of Governments. Nancy Hoehn, serves as our region’s Public Transportation Coordinator representative with TxDOT. ETCOG first worked with Hoehn in her previous role as the Transportation Director of the Ark-Tex Council of Governments to bridge service gaps and coordinate partnerships between our regions. ETCOG’s Assistant Transportation Director, Katey Pilgram, shared at the awards presentation, “Her relationship with ETCOG expanded when she took on her current role with TxDOT as our Public Transportation Coordinator, which involves overseeing multiple agencies, including ETCOG’s transportation program. Regardless of her role and duties, there is one thing that has not changed: her passion to educate and inspire transit agencies and other local organizations to work together for the greater good of the residents we serve. She has been a constant resource for ETCOG and always encourages partnerships between agencies. This has been successful because, during her tenure with TxDOT, all of the transit agencies in East Texas have agreements in place with one another that have resulted in no area in East Texas being unserved.”

“It was our honor to host our regional awards ceremony, where we celebrated the remarkable contributions of individuals, elected officials, and organizations that have made a positive impact on our region, said ETCOG Executive Director David Cleveland. “This event is a tribute to those who have shown exceptional dedication and leadership in their respective fields and made a significant difference in the lives of the people they serve.”

Photos of the event are available on the ETCOG Facebook page:

The East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) is a voluntary association of counties, cities, school districts, and special districts within the fourteen-county East Texas region. ETCOG assists local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit, and coordinating for sound regional development. Established in 1970, ETCOG, either directly or through its contractors, provides programs and services for East Texas seniors, employers, and job seekers. ETCOG and its contractors also build the 9-1-1 emergency call delivery system, provide peace officer training and homeland security planning services, and deliver rural transportation services, business finance programs, and environmental grant funding for the region.

1 Comment

  1. Angie Wheeler on March 29, 2024 at 3:06 pm

    Congratulations!! Thank you all so much for your hard work and dedication!!

Leave a Comment