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Power of Our People

Real Passion, Real People

Howard Daniel Jr. leads a quest to address mental health needs and developmental disabilities in East Texas

Howard Daniel Jr. of Livingston says everyone is important and that belief would be universal if people knew each other as individuals.

Daniel, a retired Army colonel and longtime member of Sam Houston Electric Cooperative, serves on the board for Burke, an organization that assists more than 10,000 people with mental health needs and developmental disabilities in 12 East Texas counties.

Daniel learned about Burke after his daughter, Marie, was born with a developmental disability. He joined the board in 1999 and has been its chair since 2011.

Under Daniel’s leadership Burke has doubled its mental health services capacity, expanded developmental disability services, engaged law enforcement in mental health emergency management, and expanded Burke’s reach to provide specialty services for children and veterans.

“I want the best for the people we serve,” says Daniel, pastor of Chesswood Baptist Church, “because the people we serve, like my daughter and others, are real people, with real feelings—and they are special.”

Daniel believes everybody should help people born with intellectual and developmental challenges. “We need to make them feel good,” he says. “The best way to make them feel good is to put the best facilities out there that we can.”

Learn more about Burke and Daniel at