Lucimarian Roberts and Archie Manning honored by United Way - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Lucimarian Roberts and Archie Manning honored by United Way

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Its commitment to the community couldn't be stronger. That's the message the United Way of South Mississippi hoped to drive home Tuesday night during its Tocqueville Society event.

"As community leaders, we have a challenge before us to reconnect our community to this United Way," said Mississippi Power President Anthony Topazi, campaign co-chair for United Way of South Mississippi.

The National Tocqueville Society honors those whose commitment to the common good of the community has been extraordinary.  The United Way honored a revered philanthropist and driving force for good in South Mississippi, Lucimarian Roberts.  She became the first person ever to receive the prestigious Tocqueville Award in South Mississippi. 

After accepting her award, she talked about her long-standing relationship with the United Way.  She recalled the vital role the United Way played in helping children she once worked with as a social worker. 

"We must believe that all things are possible," Roberts said. "We must believe that each one of us has been given a gift to use that we can, not glorify ourselves, but glorify God and all those who are around us.  I'm so grateful I'm here tonight."

Among her many accomplishments, Roberts was former Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, New Orleans Branch; Chairwoman of the Mississippi Department of Education; and served as an advisory Board Member for the Boys and Girls Club of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. 

Regardless of what she achieved, those who honored her said she never lost sight of what's most important: giving back.

"All of you, I know, are interested in being a partner so that United Way can live on, sharing and caring for others," Roberts said.

The night's keynote speaker was football legend Archie Manning.  A devoted, long-time supporter of the United Way, he brought a bit of humor to the evening as he recalled an encounter with a young boy involving him and his son, New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning.

"His dad asked him, 'Did Eli sign your football?'  He says, 'Yes he signed it, and then he handed it to some old man and he signed it.' So I was humbled again right there," Manning said with a smile.

Born in Drew, Mississippi, Manning is a National College Hall of Fame inductee and played for the New Orleans Saints for 15 years.  He too expressed optimism at what this United Way is poised to accomplish.

"I'm impressed with the pride you have in your community. I'm sold on the purpose of the United Way, and I'm excited about the people you will help by reaching your goal," Manning said.

Manning also signed footballs, six of which went to donors of the Tocqueville Society who've contributed $10,000 or more.  The United Way is looking for more Tocqueville Society donors.  Its goal is to reach 16 donors, the same number it had before the storm.

The United Way of South Mississippi, however, is looking for people to volunteer and serve in any way they can to better the lives of people in the community.  You can call them at (228) 896-2213. It's located in the John S. and James L. Knight Nonprofit Center off Seaway Road in Gulfport.

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