In her nomination, Brenda Dupree is described as one of the hidden treasures of North Central Louisiana. An active member of her church, sorority, and the NAACP, she leads the charge in several parishes for completing and providing accurate information for census reports. She understands the importance of an informed voter and therefore during each cycle, she leads the efforts to organize candidate forums. At over 70 years of age, she has more than tripled her load this election season and will stop whatever she is doing if someone has a question about voting or registration. Dupree wants to be sure that everyone understands their rights and knows exactly who to contact in their district regarding voting. Well known for her kindness, organization skills, relationship building and selflessness, she lives the motto “Intelligence is the torch of wisdom.” Her diligence has inspired our youth to become more active and she guides community leaders on the best ways to merge their generational gaps by developing programming or simply serving as a mentor. A force of nature, Dupree lives a life committed to advocacy and service for those around her.
While you could start with the fact that valiantly Bobby Mounts served his country as a Marine, he is recognized today for how he has chosen to live his life as a civilian and businessman. Each year, PJ’s Coffee hosts a contest that allows a veteran the opportunity to win a franchise. Upon the urging of his wife, Mounts entered and became the second franchise winner. He chose to open his business in Ruston but as he opened his doors, he made a commitment to make a difference through his work. Beyond his ongoing support for veterans and veteran causes, Mounts dedicates one day each month where a portion of his proceeds goes to support non-profits and various needs throughout the community. At his own expense, he advertises and promotes these efforts, welcomes representatives from the benefitting group, and hosts special events to bring awareness to the cause. Yet Mounts does this quietly and without fanfare because he wants no credit; instead, he prefers the spotlight shine on those he is serving. He operates with the purest servant’s heart and with a desire to truly leave this world better than he found it through his steady, consistent gift. Whether mentoring college students or volunteering with 4-H, Mounts is a warrior with a sterling heart for service that represents “paying it forward” in the finest sense of the expression.
When the unthinkable happened on April 25, 2019, Michelle Tarpley transformed into an angel for countless individuals throughout the community. As the sun came up the very next day, she became a tireless volunteer, checking on neighbors and senior citizens in her community where the F3 tornado had severely ravaged the area just two streets over from her home. Throughout the neighborhood, she consistently helped family after family with hot meals, water, and much needed supplies. But she wasn’t finished. Even after the tornado recovery began to subside, she chose to continue her service, passing out homemade soup once a week during the winter months to shut-ins as well as those individuals who were sick during their wellness checks. Furthermore, Tarpley teaches diabetes awareness as a licensed life coach to help individuals become better informed about how to live with the disease and also volunteers with the TAPS program which provide comfort, care and resources to those grieving the death of a military loved one. A resident of Ruston, Tarpley is known as a true caregiver who never meets a stranger and lives her life daily with the goal of making someone else’s life better.
Jackie White works tirelessly for the community as director of the Lincoln Parish Health Hut where she strives daily to bring the very best health care to those who may be struggling with how to pay for their care. She has established school-based health care programs throughout the Lincoln Parish School District, advocating for telemedicine protocols that will help keep students from having to leave school and their instructional time. White also gives of her time to the students of Louisiana Tech University, allowing them to shadow her and her staff. White readily engages with community partners as well as the university to improve the health of those who live throughout the parish. She has been recognized as an outstanding volunteer in various capacities, honored for her advocacy around better health care for all. However, she is quick to allow others to have the spotlight, demurely declining opportunities so that others can have their moment to shine. Jackie White is a role model and inspiration to many, especially young women who want to have careers in medicine while also having a family and living a life of purpose while practicing selflessness through service.
While a student at Grambling State University, Adarian Williams distinguished himself through his active role in various organizations before going on to serve in various capacities in Washington DC, including as an Organizing Fellow for the Campaign of President Joe Biden. He later worked in the office of former Congressman Cedric Richmond and went on to work as the Senior Manager of Congressional Relations for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Inc. During summer 2020, Williams led an effort that brought together elected officials, law enforcement officers, religious leaders, and most importantly, families, students and citizens in a Week of Action to discuss the racial unrest across our country and take united action in growing a thriving community for future generations. Shortly after that effort, he hosted and engaged more than 4,000 citizens in a virtual candidate forum for Louisiana’s Fifth Congressional District. He currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff in the office of GSU President Rick Gallot where his commitment to service is evident. Williams is said to possess resilience, integrity and the ability to collaborate with others to achieve a shared vision while remaining fully committed to giving back to this community he calls home.