LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Jim Riggs stood up in front of a large crowd to accept an award named after one of his mentors.
Riggs was honored with the second annual Rev. Bettie Kennedy Racial Equality Award presented by the Lufkin Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. The group presents the award as a way to honor Kennedy who was a pastor, educator, servant, pioneer, and civic leader.
"She was active connecting people within the community and providing for the needs of many," program coordinator John Fulbright said. "She began a major feeding ministry. She was a historian who portrayed numerous black women who were vital to progress and reconciliation. This servant of God was a role model who touched many lives and changed many minds about what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ."
Riggs was introduced to the crowd by First Christian Church's Pastor Stephen Lantis, who Riggs serves as an elder under.
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.
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.