The Bill Best Humanitarian Award is an annual recognition presented by the Ruston Rotary Club to a resident who has made a difference in the Lincoln Parish community. Richard has devoted a lifetime of unselfishly serving the community through various organizations. He was an active member of the Ruston Jaycees for five years, one year as treasurer. He served on the Ruston Community Theater board for two years as Treasurer. For twelve years, he was on the board of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council serving eleven years as Treasurer, and he is currently serving a ten year term on the United Methodist Foundation board.
Richard’s volunteerism also has included supporting the mission of DART, hurricane relief efforts through Trinity UMC, and perhaps is greatest service has come from being a board member for the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home (LMCH) for over 10 years, 8 of those years he served as President of the board and is currently the Treasurer.
Rick Wheat, CEO of the LMCH said, “Richard Lewis has a long history of humanitarian work on behalf of children and families through the ministries of LA Methodist Children and Family Services. I share my conviction that LMCH is better for Mr. Lewis’ active participation as an engaged member of our Board. During his long tenure as a Board member, Mr. Lewis has been an active member of a number of our Board’s Standing Committees. As past Chair of the Board, Mr. Lewis served as an engaged ex-officio member of all Board committees. The ultimate impact of Mr. Lewis’ leadership as Board Chair was transformational. He led our Board during the 2011-14 transition imposed upon our residential services by LA’s creation of a Medicaid-funded behavioral health system. A steady example of his generosity is Mr. Lewis’ extended Adopt-A-School support of Howard School, the alternative school on the grounds of the LMCH. Any person who spends a moment with Richard Lewis knows he cares about their well-being and that he desires goodness for them. Without a doubt, Mr. Lewis is manifestly deserving of recognition as a true humanitarian.”
For thirty years, Richard managed a family-owned department store, Lewis and Company in Ruston. He continues to work in land management with a family member. Richard has been married to Janine for forty-six years. They have three children and five grandchildren.
This award and others will be presented at the 101st Annual Chamber Banquet, which will be scheduled when COVID restrictions are eased.