HOUSTON, Oct. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Madan Luthra, a veteran Sewa International volunteer from Houston has been honored with the 2021 "Volunteer of the Year Award" by the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, for his commendable service to the community.
Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott, Honorary Chair of the 2021 Governor's Volunteer Awards, announced the 38th annual Governor's Volunteer Awards on Tuesday, October 12. The press release from the Governor's Office said that recipients of the awards would be honored at an online ceremony.
"These awards honor the exemplary service of individuals and organizations that have made a significant and measurable contribution to Texas Communities through service and volunteering in the past year. The awardees were selected for engaging in volunteer service that addresses a critical need and makes a positive impact on the community," the First Lady noted. These awards are administered by the One Star Foundation.
As COVID-19 began to impact the Houston community, Madan Luthra, a retired scientist, volunteered more than 30 hours a week through Sewa International's Family Services program. He answered calls on Sewa's helpline, reached out to assist families receive groceries and medicine, dealt with the difficult task of funeral arrangements, and helped in local food and COVID-19 vaccination drives.
When COVID-19 cases began to take a major toll, Dr. Luthra worked with other volunteers to create a website, sewacovidplasma.org, to connect plasma donors with COVID-19 patients undergoing convalescent plasma therapy. Hindus of Greater Houston conferred the 2020 "Akhil Chopra Unsung Heroes Award" on him. The Houston Chronicle newspaper featured him in its "Heroes of the Front Line" series.
Dr. Luthra retired in 2017 from a long and successful career in biomedical research. He lives in Houston with his wife Rajyalakshmi, who is also a biomedical researcher.
Dr. Luthra was born in Jodhpur, Multan, now in Pakistan, in August 1947. His parents fled to India with their five children to avoid persecution after India's partition. He studied biochemistry at Punjab University and earned his PhD from the University of Leeds in England. In 1972 he joined the University of Arizona Medical Center as an assistant professor and moved to Houston in 1980 and joined the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine.
Three great Sikh principles as taught by saint Guru Nanak Dev -- conscientious karma, prayer to the Almighty, and sharing his resources with others -- are principles that guide him. His mantra for life is an ideal from the Hindu scriptures, "Sarve Bavantu Sukinah," which means that let all be happy!
Congratulating Dr. Luthra, Sewa International's President, Arun Kankani, said "Dr. Madan Luthra is an inspiration and a guiding force to all of us at Sewa. He is a family elder to all Sewa volunteers and his dedication, agility, and selfless service truly reflect Sewa's mission and vision."
About Sewa International
Sewa International (www.sewausa.org) is a 501 (c)(3) Hindu faith-based charitable nonprofit that works in the areas of disaster recovery, education, and development. Sewa has 43 Chapters across the USA and serves regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin.
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SOURCE Sewa International