The city of Killeen recently created an award to highlight community members inspiring and creating change within the city. For more than 20 years, Janice Taylor has poured her heart and soul into giving back to the community at the Killeen Housing Authority.
The fold-out tables at the Moss Rose Community and Development Center in downtown Killeen is where strangers become family. It's a place where Taylor works day in and day out serving our homeless neighbors. Most times she prefers to stay in the background, but her years of hard work and dedication are finally being recognized.
Believe it or not, it's an award she attempted to give away.
"There's a lot of folks in the community who have done a lot and are committed so maybe you could find someone else," Taylor said.
It's that same selflessness that got her the nomination in the first place. Taylor was nominated by Killeen City Council member Rick Williams.
"Over the years her name has just been repetitious and has become synonymous with giving and caring," Williams said.
The Star Award is the brainchild of Killeen City Council member Ken Wilkerson. When it was Williams' turn to select a winner of the award, he said everyone he spoke to had nothing but good things about Taylor.
"Her impact on the community is large," Williams said. "People will recognize the name, and I'm sure they were like me at first, you may not know exactly who she is, but when you say her name you know. You'll never meet a better person. You're never going to meet someone who for decades has been giving, giving, and giving."
Taylor works around the clock to focus on providing necessary resources for those in need and pushing everyone to never use the term homeless. Taylor says they're just our neighbors.
"There's not much that someone in the community can't come in and get if I have it," Taylor said. "Whether it's food out of the pantry or toilet paper. It's about dignity. We need to treat everyone with dignity, whether you live in a house, or you don't. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect."
For Taylor it's not about the award. It's just about doing what's right.
"When they come in here to eat, it's done with dignity," Taylor said. "I do sit down with them I've gotten to know a lot of them. My rule has always been, if you won't serve the food to your family, you cannot serve it to my neighbors. I have to know at the end of my day that I did something for someone, even if it's just one person, then I met my mission in life."
Taylor said she’s putting all her efforts into pushing the city to open a day center for our unhoused neighbors. It's something she believes will drastically improve their quality of life.