“To this day, I avoid French toast,” she said chuckling.
But Ms. Dacus told the large group assembled at the University of Texas at Tyler Ornelas Activity Center on Thursday at the annual Association of Fundraising Professionals East Texas Chapter luncheon that she became a successful attorney who liked to contribute to the community “because people like you stepped in and created a passion and drive to give back.”
Jana Humphrey, president of the East Texas chapter, introduced Ms. Dacus and Carlton Mitchell of LeTourneau University in Longview and thanked the group for attending, saying that 125 communities worldwide were participating in National Philanthropy Day Activities on Thursday.
Carlton Mitchell, director of student support services at LeTourneau University, and an active volunteer in Gregg County, encouraged everyone in the audience to find time in their schedules to volunteer, no matter how busy they may get.
Jim Mullicane, a senior student at The Brookhill School, received the Youth Spark award for his work in creating the Hunger for Love nonprofit organization along with several of his friends. The group feeds more than 100 homeless people underneath a bridge on Gentry Parkway each Saturday morning. He received a $1,000 scholarship courtesy of The University of Texas at Tyler to the college of his choice.
“The first Saturday at Bergfeld Park, my friends made custom omelets for 30 people,” Mullicane said, describing the experience as very intense and busy. He and his friends and family, who help each Saturday, have since moved to the area underneath the bridge on Gentry Parkway.
Lisa and Michael Lujan, founders of Mentoring Minds, an educational publishing company in Tyler, received the Spark Award for their community service. Mrs. Lujan said the two have lived in Tyler for 17 years, and have been “touched by the generosity of everyone.”
“There are so many in this room that have inspired us and mentored us,” she said, adding she and her husband are grateful and fortunate for having received the mentoring. Giving, Mrs. Lujan said, is something that needs to be taught.