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Texas Farm Credit Employee Honored for Helping Needy Family

Farmer and young son working on the farm
Recipients of the first Tommy Dean Shearrer Community Activist Award

Jenn Correa of Tyler has received Texas Farm Credit’s inaugural Tommy Dean Shearrer Community Activist Award, which included a $2,500 donation to a charity of her choice.

It all began in October 2018 when she answered a call for help.

Correa, a senior loan administrator at Texas Farm Credit’s Tyler branch office, received a phone call from a mother named Krista who wanted to apply for a loan to buy her children some winter clothes.

Realizing the caller was in need, Correa and her husband, Romeo Correa, purchased clothing for the three children. On delivery day, they saw Krista’s empty home and discovered she was under tremendous financial stress. Her car just had broken down, and she had no way to transport her children to school or get to work.

Here was a woman of faith who just needed to catch a break, they thought.

Correa sprang into action and began raising funds. She wanted to buy Krista a car — a goal she thought might be out of reach until many people opened their hearts. With the help of donations, she gave the family a car and necessary maintenance, a brand new couch for their home, essentials for the children and more.

Passing Along Her Blessings

Texas Farm Credit recognized Correa’s kindness and effort in January with its first Tommy Dean Shearrer Community Activist Award. The annual award is given to an employee whose volunteerism has demonstrated passion and service to the community or charities. It is part of the rural lending cooperative’s philanthropic Passion Forward initiative, which gives back 2% of the co-op’s earnings to charitable causes.

“This award is near and dear to my heart,” Mark Miller, Texas Farm Credit CEO, said during Correa’s award ceremony. “We recognize the employ­ee who has done the most for communities during the year.

“We had a lot of good nominations, but Jenn Correa rose to the top. Numerous employees submitted her name, and our leadership team all agreed that she should be the first winner.”

In March, Correa presented her award’s $2,500 donation to Refuge of Light, a Tyler nonprofit that helps girls who have been rescued from sex trafficking. The faith-based charity was founded 10 years ago by Mike and Norma Mullican and their daughter, Missy Zivney, to equip the girls with confidence and life skills so they can have a successful future. The donation comes just in time for an expansion at Refuge of Light, which has received licensing approval to operate a residential treatment center. The charity will go from a small staff to more than a dozen employees, and will be able to care for up to 13 girls.

Its safe home serves girls ages 10-17 who have been taken in by Child Protective Services, and houses them until they can be placed in foster care or with family. One highlight is a weekly Brave Girl mentoring program that includes a meal at a handmade table.

“A lot of them don’t ever sit down and have a family-style meal,” Zivney said. “That gives the girls the opportunity to talk about their day. Sometimes girls sit there with their hands crossed, but they will eventually open up.”

Correa said she feels blessed to have been chosen for the 2018 Community Activist Award.

“This was not done on my own,” she said. “It was by the kindness of those who came together for a greater good.

“To be able to further pass blessings on to those with Refuge of Light is wonderful. The love and service they give those who have been hurt is so inspiring to me.”

Award Commemorates Late Director Tommy Shearrer

Texas Farm Credit created the Tommy Dean Shearrer Community Activist Award in 2018 in remembrance of its former customer and board member, who was killed while trying to help someone in 2012. The Atascosa County farmer and rancher would often say, “We need to support the community where we live. Our community provides for us, and we should be involved in our community.”

Image of Tommy Shearrer

Shearrer was known for his strong sense of civic duty. He joined the FFA in high school, and later advanced to FFA state vice president in 1975. He became active in the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce and Pleasanton Cowboy Homecoming Association to help promote his hometown. An advocate of weather research and technology, he was president of the local, state and national chapters of the Weather Modification Association. He also had been a county commissioner and was an elder at his church.

About Texas Farm Credit

Texas Farm Credit finances agricultural operations, agribusinesses, homes and rural real estate, and offers a variety of insurance services. Headquartered in Robstown, Texas, it serves 100 Texas counties and is part of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of rural lending cooperatives established in 1916.

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