Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Mr. Joel L. Deretchin, a great community leader and a dear friend. Mr. Deretchin has held numerous leadership roles throughout the community in The Woodlands, Texas. Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. Deretchin has served several executive positions with many respected organizations in the Woodlands area. He held leadership positions at The Woodlands Development Company, served as a board member of The Woodlands Community Association, and served as President and sitting board member of both the Woodlands Association and the Woodlands Commercial Owners Association.
Mr. Deretchin has strived to keep the community focused on improving education in The Woodlands by supporting and establishing The University Center, The John Cooper School and the Academy for Lifelong Learning at Montgomery College--all which have given valuable opportunities to students in and around The Woodlands community. The Conroe Independent School District has recognized and honored Mr. Deretchin's achievements by naming one of their elementary schools in his honor, the Joel L. Deretchin K-6 Elementary School.
As you can see, he has truly impacted innumerable lives in The Woodlands community. His servant leadership on the Interfaith of the Woodlands Board and the South Montgomery County/Woodlands Chamber of Commerce Board are clearly evident as he continuously volunteers his time and lends a hand to organizations and non-profits.
For his countless service efforts, Mr. Deretchin was awarded ``Citizen of the Year'' by the South Montgomery County/Woodlands Chamber of Commerce in 1990. He was also honored in 1999 as a ``Hometown Hero'' during the Woodlands 25th Anniversary Celebration. While these awards and honors are significant, nothing can truly commemorate the extent of service Mr. Deretchin has provided for his community. His leadership and commitment to The Woodlands is selfless and something that merits applauding.
His compassionate heart as well as his desire to help others has continued to drive him to remain active throughout the community--he never expected to be honored with these awards, but boy is he deserving! Wanting nothing in return, Mr. Deretchin committed over 33 years to The Woodlands community and has watched it flourish and grow. I know Mr. Deretchin is proud to have been so heavily involved in the community development of The Woodlands, but I also know The Woodlands is proud to say he is one of our residents. The Woodlands has more than benefited from his leadership, knowledge and philanthropic focus.
Madam Speaker, it is such an honor to recognize Joel Deretchin as a significant part of The Woodlands' community and pay tribute to his contributions to the people of The Woodlands as he retires, however there is no doubt in my mind that he will continue be heavily involved! I urge you to join me in recognizing Mr. Deretchin and his achievements.
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