3 TxDOT employees recognized as Texans Caring for Texans

Local News

Photo via TxDOT Amarillo Facebook page.

CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Texans Caring for Texans honored three employees from state agencies across 26 counties in the Texas Panhandle for their “efforts that positively impact their communities, according to a press release by Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

The individuals honored at the annual ceremony held earlier this month are two TxDOT employees from the Amarillo District and one from the Childress District, the release explained.

Frank Figueroa, the Channing maintenance section assistant in TxDOT’s Amarillo District, was recognized for “helping a stranded motorist,” according to the TxDOT release. Figueroa was on his second round, heading southbound on US 54 when he saw a car on the shoulder facing traffic.

“Frank thought that something may be wrong and the motorist wasn’t safe with the high volume of traffic on US 54,” said Bart Lamberson, Channing maintenance section supervisor. “He turned around and went back to check on the third party.”

The release added that Figueroa learned from visiting with the driver that the man had been stranded for nearly four hours and his car had ran out of gas. The driver by was lying down in his car with only a blanket when Figueroa made a phone call an a co-worker met him halfway with gas.

“Our maintenance barn was about 40 miles from the location and the nearest fuel location was around 35 miles to Dalhart,” Lamberson said. “Frank gave the motorist enough fuel to get him to a gas station. The temperatures were starting to get colder and if Frank hadn’t arrived when he did, the stranded motorists said he planned to start walking soon.”

“Our maintenance barn was about 40 miles from the location and the nearest fuel location was around 35 miles to Dalhart,” Lamberson said. “Frank gave the motorist enough fuel to get him to a gas station. The temperatures were starting to get colder and if Frank hadn’t arrived when he did, the stranded motorists said he planned to start walking soon.”

TxDot said that Figueroa has been an equipment operator with its company for more than 26 years and plans to retire at the end of the month.

Dustin Graves, a general transportation technician at the Amarillo District’s Claude maintenance section, was also recognized as a Texan Caring for Texans this year, according to the release.

In 2016, Grave and his wife started the process of becoming foster parents after finding out they could not have children. They began with classes every week, background checks, home studies, home inspections, and some online training. In 2017 they became licensed foster care parents, TxDOT added.

They have fostered 12 children and recently began fostering a preemie that they are “hoping to adopt in addition to the four they’ve already adopted – three girl and one boy.” The graves said “there have been a lot of ups and downs with lots of tears and laughter and its well worth it.”

Graves is about to begin his 11th year of service with TxDOT and is also a veteran of the US Navy, according to the release.

Annabel Jurado, a planner in TxDOT’s Childress District, was the third person recognized as a Texan Caring for Texans and currently serves as chair of the District’s Employee Advisory Committee (EAC). According to the release in this role, Jurado is “responsible for fundraisers throughout the year to help employees with financial burdens when they are faced with unfortunate medical emergencies.” Jurado has served in this position for five years.

In addition, Jurado serves as a volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which is a national association that “supports and promotes court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children,” according to the release. As a volunteer, Jurado gathers information and makes recommendation in the best interest of the child.

Jurado also serves as a Sunday School teacher and is involved with the Youth Group at her church.

“Our districts are fortunate to have several employees who are constantly giving back to the communities in which they serve,” said Amarillo District Engineer Blair Johnson.

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