LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An East Texas group is recognizing a Lufkin man for his efforts to improve the community.
During the Black History Month, the Lufkin Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance will award the "Reverend Bettie Kennedy Racial Equality Award" to Jim Riggs who has made tremendous efforts in combating drug addiction and closing the racial gaps within the community.
Riggs said his race is American because it represents unity.
"America is made up of wide diversity of individuals and I'm just one little part," Riggs said.
A humble man, Riggs doesn't like the spotlight and does his part to improve the community. He said he learned those cherished lesson from a dear friend and mentor, the late reverend Bettie Kennedy.
"Bettie Kennedy didn't do the things she did for attention. You had to seek out the things she did to recognize it and she's a good role model to follow," Riggs said.
Civic leaders said Riggs was a natural choice as the 2017 recipient of award.
"Jim was one of those people we looked at who has been doing this tirelessly in the community for years. An un-sung hero and we thought that it should be acknowledged," said John Fulbright, program coordinator.
For more than 20 years, Riggs donates his time volunteering several days out of the week at Dunbar Primary school reading to children. He and his wife also sponsor a faith based support group which uses a 12-step program to address issues of misuse of alcohol or drugs. But this group extends further to address issues with anger or inappropriate compulsive actions.
Jim said there have been huge strides bridging the racial gaps.
"There has been a lot of progress made, and I think reverend Bettie Kennedy is largely responsible for that in this community," Riggs said.
The award ceremony is Tuesday at Angelina College from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Public is invited.