Position on Board: Chair
Counties represented: Polk, San Jacinto
Colonel Daniel, Jr. has served on the Burke Board since 1999 and currently serves as Chairman of the Board representing Polk and San Jacinto counties. Daniel and his wife Clara reside in Livingston, where he is pastor of Chesswood Baptist Church.
Daniel has retired from work as motivational speaker who traveled the nation presenting to school districts, athletic programs, government and corporate entities.
How did you first get involved with Burke?
I first came to serve on the board in 1999. My now adult daughter Little Marie was born with a developmental disability and the former Polk County Judge John Thompson called upon me to serve on the board. My late wife Marie T. Daniel was influential in getting me to serve on the board.
After being on the Burke board for a while, I was elected Board Chair and I was also appointed to serve on the Board of the Texas Council of Community Centers, an organization created by centers like Burke to help us coordinate with other centers around Texas to improve and enhance the services we provide.
What was your first impression of Burke?
My first impression was that Burke did an awesome job for the people who needed the service. And I wanted to do my part to make this happen.
I wish people in our region knew more about the type and kind of services Burke provides. I wish that more people who need our services would seek us out so that we could provide the services they need.
There’s still a lot of harmful shame in needing mental health or developmental disability services. And there shouldn’t be. I know Burke is working hard to battle that stigma, and I’m proud of the work we are doing in that area.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
They would be surprised to know about my compassion and my love for people. I have a desire to see everyone excel to his or her fullest potential. I don’t apologize for being a people person; I want people to develop spiritually, psychologically and physically. To help people do that I preach the gospel and spend time counseling individuals and families in and outside the church. I encourage my congregation to take care of their health. Doctors are in the business of fixing stuff that’s broken, I am in charge of my own health. I stay active (exercising and walking) to stay healthy.
What do you think will change about Burke (or the MH/IDD service realm) over the next five years?
It is always changing; it is very dynamic and fast moving. We have to sort through an array of laws and policies. It is a monumental task to make sure that all Burke policies compliment rather than conflict one another.It seems like the nation and the state of Texas are waking up to mental health. It is a glorious thing to see that individuals are given respect and taken care of. A long time ago, we used to hide them. Now we have state-of-the-art facilities like our new Angelina Mental Health Clinic to care for individuals experiencing mental illness.
How would someone describe you?
As being like Pollyanna. I never meet a stranger and everybody is somebody to me. I am friendly and down to earth. Yet, I am always ready to take care of business.
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
I enjoy studying, I am always learning. I enjoy my wife, Clara, my family, I enjoy all kinds of recreation; watching football and basketball.