The national spotlight is shining on a local community leader.

Delores “Dee” Jones, business and community partnership coordinator for the Alief Independent School District, has received the 2022 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service for community service and leadership in the International Management District community.

It is the highest level of the President’s Volunteer Service Awards, requiring a minimum of 4,000 hours of documented volunteer service.

“Dee,” as she is known throughout the area, has been a fixture in Alief since 2002. She worked her way from an AISD campus position to her current job at the administration building.

While her “daytime” job affords her the opportunity to help serve students and staff, her volunteer work takes her beyond the classroom walls.

The award is for her documented hours, over the course of about 166 days — incredible when we consider that she spends her days working almost round the clock to fulfill her goals and projects in her professional capacity. “On the job,” last year alone she helped raise more than $3 million dollars in donations for the district.

We also find Dee out in the community recruiting mentors, supporting food and supply drives and working annually during the holidays on toy and holiday meal drives.

Terry Hou, marketing officer for Golden Bank, 9315 Bellaire Blvd., has worked on several projects with Jones.

“She is so helpful. Dee helps us connect our donations to match school needs. She does her research and builds meaningful partnerships,” she said.

Golden Bank sponsors an annual Chinese New Year celebration with the district.

“We support the Mandarin Emersion program at Petrosky Elementary and recently provided $10,000 in tech equipment support for Chancellor Elementary,” Hou said. “We can have an idea of what we want to do, and we will contact her for direction and she helps connect us to the right community members. We even supported a call for (neck) ties for young male students who needed ties for an upcoming event.”

Jones’ hours of service also include leadership roles in community and business organizations. She serves as Club Image chair and Membership chair for the Westchase Rotary Club. She is a committee co-chair for the Business and Education Partnership Committee of the West Houston Chamber of Commerce. She continues to support the Alief Community Association with events like the annual International Parade. For several years, she was the driving force behind the annual Westchase Rotary Club’ Annual Souper Bowl raising money for student scholarships for area school districts.

When Hurricane Harvey hit the city, Jones was featured in a local news segment as she did what she does best — organizing people and obtaining donations. She managed to secure donations and support by phone for storm victims, all while stranded in her flooded home.

Jones is always quick to recognize others for their support for her efforts while she is humble when she receives the same recognition.

“You know I hate this kind of stuff, but really, this is special. I was really shocked,’’ she said about receiving the honor.

Among her many community recognitions, however, she has even been honored by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner with a city proclamation of “Dee Jones Day” in the city.

Alief ISD Public Relations Specialist Craig Eichhorn explained, “When many Alief community members think of Alief ISD they think of Dee Jones first. They know that when they need something, Dee will get the job done. She has been representing Alief ISD with professionalism and class for decades. She assists multiple community organizations simultaneously and attends several dozen community activities per year, whether they be after hours or on weekends.

“The most recent example of her ability to deliver is when multiple schools needed bottled water when the City of Houston experienced a (potential) crisis in their water treatment facilities. Mrs. Jones was able to obtain several thousand bottles of water in a short amount of time so Alief ISD could have school the very next day. Dee Jones is most deserving of the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award and Alief ISD is extremely fortunate to have her continued support of students, staff and the community.”

Photo: “Dee” Jones, husband Gene Jones, left, and Interim Superintendent Gina Tomas.

— By Jessika Leal