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Wichita Falls Sisters Invited to Gov. Abbott’s State of State Address

Austin and Wichita Falls, TX (January 31, 2017) – Sisters Ke’Nesha and A’Lisa Buckner, Wichita Falls graduate students who defied all odds as children in the Texas foster care system, are being recognized on Tuesday as “extraordinary Texans” at Gov. Greg Abbott’s State of the State address.

Texas CASA Annual Forum and Champion Recognition Luncheon Feb 23, 2016 at the Hilton Austin. Photos (c) Bob Daemmrich for Texas CASA. Mandatory Credit Green Room with VIP's Gov. and Mrs. Greg Abbott.
A’Lisa (left) and Ke’Nesha Buckner (right) with Governor Greg Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott, and their former CPS caseworker June Davison, at Texas CASA’s 2016 annual luncheon.

The Buckner sisters, now 26 and 27 years old, first caught Gov. Abbott’s attention when they spoke at the Texas CASA’s annual luncheon last February about their experience in Child Protective Services.

Penny Henderson, the CASA volunteer who began working with Ke’Nesha and A’Lisa when they were three and four years old, traveled to Austin with the sisters for the event. June Davison, who worked with the sisters for four years as a CPS caseworker, also joined them.

Henderson said she has worked on more than 75 cases as a Wichita Falls CASA program volunteer in her 25 years with the organization and knows the Buckner sisters’ success has to do with their hard work more than anything.

“They had their share of hardships, but they have worked very hard to get through college and now graduate school. They are indeed extraordinary,” said Henderson, who added she and the Buckner sisters do more than just stay in touch. “They’re family.”

Ke’Nesha Buckner said her life changed the day she was introduced to Henderson. She credits CASA and Henderson with “feeling less alone and knowing I could do anything” while growing up in the foster care system.

The Buckner sisters, along with Henderson and Davison, remain active in their local CASA program and regularly attend and speak at events.

Vicki Spriggs, chief executive officer for Texas CASA, said the Buckner sisters and Henderson exemplify the kind of the life-changing relationship that is possible when everyday Texans commit to becoming a CASA volunteer.

Gov. Abbott agrees all Texas children need a strong advocate by their side.

“Ke’Nesha and A’Lisa Buckner’s story is a touching example of how the care and commitment of a CASA volunteer can change lives for the better,” Gov. Abbott said. “As Governor, I will continue to be a strong and vocal advocate for the vital work CASA does and do everything possible to offer my support, assistance and gratitude on behalf of the State of Texas.”