The Texas Association of Counties has named an educational outreach award in honor of a longtime Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service family and community health educator.
The association has named its educational outreach award in honor of Paula Butler, AgriLife Extension regional program leader for family and community health based in Dallas.
Courtney Parrott, AgriLife Extension Service agent for family and community health in Brown County, was the first recipient at the association’s Healthy County Boot Camp conference.
The award will be given annually to an AgriLife Extension agent who goes above and beyond in educational outreach about health and nutrition wellness programs in Texas counties.
“Paula Butler is innovative, effective and an amazing leader,” said Susan Ballabina, Ph.D., deputy vice chancellor for Texas A&M AgriLife. “It’s no surprise to me that the Texas Association of Counties would choose to name this award in her honor. Her work with the organization as an agent coordinating county wellness programs was stellar, and as she moved into leadership, she continued to champion the mission of this state level wellness partnership.”
While working as an agent in Navarro County, Butler led a number of programs helping educate individuals in the area of food and nutrition. Notably, Butler led an extensive diabetes education program whose five-week class series was implemented each year in 2004-2012.
Butler, a licensed dietitian, provided nutrition lessons for the series. In 2007, she also coordinated the Spanish series class in a program designed for the Hispanic population in Navarro County.
Butler also was an integral part of the Cooking Well with Diabetes program and has continued to support all these programs after she was named to her current Dallas position in 2013.
“It’s very humbling to have the Extension award named after me, and I was excited to help present it to Courtney Parrott,” Butler said. “It’s an honor for the Texas Association of Counties Healthy County program to recognize family and community health AgriLife Extension agents as they support county employees on their wellness journey.”
Among Butler’s own honors and recognition is the inaugural Iris Stagner Award from the association in 2013.
Carrie Chen, Texas Association of Counties wellness analyst, Austin, said the Butler award was created “so that we could start the tradition of recognizing an AgriLife agent for superior education outreach of their county’s wellness program.”
Chen said Butler’s continued support of agents in her region motivated the association to name the award in her honor.
“Moving forward, we will choose a county wellness coordinator or sponsor for the Iris Stagner Award and choose an AgriLife Extension agent for the Paula Butler Award.”
Parrott attributed her success to team members in Brown County for prioritizing health and wellness activities.
“I am so proud of Brown County Healthy County team members,” Parrott said. “Without their participation and dedication to improving their wellness, we would not have made the strides toward maintaining healthy lifestyles. I was honored to receive the first Paula Butler Award, which was a direct result of the hard work of our Brown County employees.”