BEAUMONT, Texas––The principal architect a city-wide event to honor first responders has been elected a member of the Strength for Service Board of Directors.

Anna Jane Brian (known to her friends as AJ) was elected as the 12th member of the board during a June 28. She will join the board at a September meeting in Nashville.

AJ was first introduced to Strength for Service when her local church distributed copies of Strength for Service to God and Country to veterans during Veterans Day in 2015.

A few months later she learned about Strength for Service to God and Community, a book which was especially interesting to her as she is the mother of a captain with Beaumont Fire/Rescue Team.

While recovering from knee surgery, she joined forces with others to plan “Duty Calls,” a 2016 event where copies of the book would be given to all first responders in Beaumont.

“As the work continued the event became more than just providing the books, it became an opportunity to recognize and honor each of our first responders,” said AJ. “We created and distributed sponsorship packets to area businesses and organizations.  Once the project was shared, the community was eager to be a part of such an opportunity.  We located a speaker, an amazing fire fighter from New York City who had not only a story to share, but understood our mission and helped to bring it to fruition.”

At the conclusion of the event the group was able to donate $10,000 to the “100 Club” of southeast Texas.

AJ received her undergraduate degree from East Baptist College in 1971, and her graduate degree from East Texas State University in 1975. Most of 33 year teaching career was spent teaching music to elementary school children in low socio-economic communities. She retired from teaching in 2008 and became a director of the Claybar Funeral Home.

AJ is married to John Brian, a fellow graduate of East Texas Baptist College. After stint in the U.S. Army, John worked with the Texas Children’s Protective and Regulatory Services. After retiring from the state he served as a social worker and grief counselor for a hospice.

The couple have two sons, Russell, a captain with Beaumont Fire/Rescue, and Kevin, a hospice nurse.