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“People doing things behind the scenes should be applauded” – Person of Interest Award Banquet

Sometimes the little guys need their time to shine.

That was George Morris’ philosophy when he announced the coming of his second Person of Interest Award Banquet, to be held 7-10 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Carl Parker Center.

Morris, a state certified recovery coach and owner of the JumpStart Wellness and Recovery Center in downtown Port Arthur, thinks the good people of his community should have their moment in the spotlight, especially during a time in which good news seems to be in short supply.

“I came up with this Person of Interest Award because you always hear bad things in the news,” Morris said. “You always hear about somebody getting killed or robbed. Port Arthur to me is a great little city, and we have great people here. I think some of the people doing things behind the scenes should be applauded.”

The JumpStart Center is accepting nominees for the award until Sept. 19. The Center is looking for individuals who have advocated, supported, implemented and changed to help make life better for their community. Candidates can include people in recovery, law enforcement, health care, religious leaders or members, mothers and fathers, city officials and community activists.

Morris stresses the award is intended to recognize the good work people do that normally isn’t well known.

“This is something I felt like I wanted to do in this community to show the small people — not the senators, not the mayors — but the people behind the scenes doing things here to change people’s lives,” he said.

The Oct. 26 banquet will include a red carpet, professional photography and live entertainment. Stuart Salter from Julian Salter Insurance will be a guest speaker. Morris expects the Center will award six to seven individuals at the event.

Individuals and businesses will also have the opportunity to advertise in the event’s souvenir book, which highlights the banquet’s events and includes photos of the winners and nominees.

The book and banquet also serve as fundraisers for the JumpStart Center, which is a sober-living home provided for individuals newly released from incarceration or rehab. The center helps its residents rebuild structure into their lives and boosts confidence to help reintegrate them back into society.

Morris, himself formerly incarcerated, had his own experience with such facilities and wanted to show others going through turbulent times that it is possible to be productive again.

“Here is a safe place you can come to and practice all the things that you learned,” Morris said. “There are rules of course, there are curfews, meetings that you have to attend. And it just helps you navigate your way back to society and living a productive life.”

Forms for nominations for the Person of Interest Award can be obtained from the JumpStart Center at 1222 E. Fifth St. in Port Arthur. Morris expects to also have downloadable forms available at the JumpStart Facebook page and on the website, jumpstart3rc.com. The deadline for nominations is Sept. 19. Forms can be mailed to George or Kim Morris at 1222 E. Fifth St., Port Arthur, TX 77640.

The banquet is $20 per person or $140 for a table of eight. For more information or to RSVP, call 409-728-3430 or 214-766-8288.