Maria Reyes has worked nearly every job in the Smith County Adult Probation Department, working her way up to supervisor during her 15-year career.
Ms. Reyes was recognized in Commissioners Court on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, for her years of service.
“Each day presents a new set of challenges and a new opportunity to help people,” she said. “We are here to serve the probationers, the courts, and to protect the community. I’m also honored to work with a great group of people who do a hard job every day.”
In 2002, Ms. Reyes started working in the Misdemeanor Unit, supervising a bilingual caseload of about 185 misdemeanor offenders, as well as a caseload of about 25 civil, child support and pre-trial cases.
In 2006, she was promoted to court officer for County Court-at-Law No. 2, implementing and upholding court policies. She was also responsible for all probation court proceedings and supervising a criminal caseload. She acted as a liaison between the court and other offices, assisted in the training of new community supervision officers and she was a Certified Alcohol Education Instructor, teaching courses to first-time DWI offenders for seven years.
In 2011, Ms. Reyes was selected as court officer for the 241st District Court, doing much of the same work but for a felony caseload.
In 2015, she was promoted to supervisor of the Intensive Supervision Unit, comprised of specialized caseloads such as people on probation for substance abuse, felony DWI and sex offenses. She supervises the coordinator of the Community Service Restitution Program and the Intake Unit, which processes all new criminal cases for the six Smith County criminal courts.
“As you can see, I’ve done almost every job at our department, but out of all the jobs I’ve held, being in the courtroom has been my favorite,” Ms. Reyes said. “Working in the courtroom was interesting, challenging and rewarding.”
She said she also likes working for the Adult Probation Department because every day is different.
“It’s been a lot of fun working with her,” Janet Fugler, Assistant Director of Adult Probation, said about Ms. Reyes. “It’s an honor to be able to call her a friend.”
Mental Health Court Coordinator
Also recognized in court on Tuesday was Donna Henry, who has served Smith County for 10 years.
Mrs. Henry began working as probate clerk for the County Clerk’s Office in 2007, and started working for the County Judge as Mental Health Court Coordinator in 2011.
“What I love about working for Smith County is that I have learned so much about county government, and my ability to help people who are in need,” Mrs. Henry said.
Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said Mrs. Henry does her job relentlessly every day, without any recognition. She often deals with people who are at their lowest point in life and she treats them with kindness, respect and dignity, he added.
“It’s a joy to work with you every day,” Judge Moran told her in court.
Those recognized for their years of service this month but who were not in court include:
10 Years: George Sharper, Road and Bridge Department; James Fortner and Pamela Williams, Sheriff’s Department.
5 Years: Gordon Altman, Road and Bridge Department; Blake Banner and Henry Mills, Sheriff’s Department; and Debra Caldwell, Tax Office.