Tommy R. Austin was the U. S. Customs Service agent
responsible for the investigation of the illegal exportation
of American industrial high technology, weapons of war,
nuclear weapons, nuclear devices, and enforcing the
Trading with the Enemy Act from 1994 to 1997.
Before that he posed
as a drug smuggler, drug dealer, importer, financier
and other persons involved in international organized
criminal narcotics smuggling and money laundering organizations.
Even before that he was a patrol officer on the
waterfront in Houston and numerous areas of the Texas/Mexico
border, and served as a "sky marshal" preventing the
hijacking of United States flagship aircraft by terrorists.
When Tommy Austin graduated
from Sam Houston State University in 1975 with a bachelor
of science in law enforcement/police science, he might
have anticipated at least some of the dangerous and
exciting assignments he has faced. What he did not anticipate,
however, was meeting a four-year-old boy named Christopher
Greicius in Phoenix, Ariz., in 1977, and what would
happen as a result of that meeting.
Chris Greicius was suffering
from cancer and his greatest wish was to be a police
officer. After Austin and his law enforcement friends
gave Chris helicopter and police cruiser rides, a badge,
and his own uniform, complete with police helmet and
goggles, the Greicius Make-A-Wish Foundation was born.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation
has grown to hundreds of chapters and divisions throughout
the United States and the world, with thousands of volunteers
and millions of dollars raised to grant the wishes of
more than 50,000 children with life-threatening diseases.
Austin, now retired from the
Customs Service and living in Spring, has earned his
Masters of Social Work from the University of Houston.
With the awards, memberships, and involvements he has
amassed in his law enforcement and volunteer agency
career, he expects little idle time during his retirement.
He received the United States
Department of the Treasury Albert Gallatin Award this
year, along with being named an outstanding alumnus
of SHSU's College of Criminal Justice. In 1996 he was
presented the SAVVY Award as Houston's Volunteer of
the Year, and was the first recipient of the "Austin
Award" as the U. S. Customs Service's Humanitarian of
the Year in 1989.
He has also been presented
Commissioner of the U. S. Customs Service Awards three
times, numerous in-service awards from the Customs Service,
the National Child Labor Committee's Louis Hine Award,
and the Jaycees Spoke Award.
Austin and his wife, Kay,
have five children and four grandchildren.