(September 30, 2010)
Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073
President Emeritus to Receive Samaritan of the Year Award
SHREVEPORT, La. — One of Donald Webb's all-time heroes is Winston Churchill, who once said, "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."
Webb took this quote to heart.
(photo by Sherry Heflin, Centenary News Service)
"I interpreted give as meaning the giving of ourselves, of our service, of our caring, of our hands and our support," he said. "That's what I've tried to do."
Webb is being honored Oct. 14 as the 2010 Samaritan of the Year by the Samaritan Counseling Center of Shreveport-Bossier for his service to the community that spans more than 20 years.
"His name has been brought up because of all the spiritual contributions he's done," said Paige Metzgar, executive director of the Samaritan Counseling Center. "He's just a selfless man who cares about the community which he lives in."
A United Methodist minister, Webb immigrated with his family to the United States from England in 1958. He attended Drew University in New Jersey where he received a doctorate degree in theology and worked in the seminary. In 1977, Webb was invited to serve as president of Centenary College, where he was employed for 14 years and is now president emeritus.
After retiring, Webb devoted himself to volunteer work and community service. He said that helping children is his main focus.
"Jesus' parable of the Samaritan tells us that the heart of faith and our loving father is to care for his children who need help regardless of religion or race," he said.
Webb has worked with Volunteers of America, primarily with the LightHouse, tutoring and inspiring young people to fulfill their dreams of pursuing a higher education.
"His passion is really the children and families who find their way to the LightHouse program," said Charles Meehan, chief executive officer of Volunteers of America of North Louisiana. "Don told me that he wants to spend the rest of his life helping the LightHouse to have what it needs to help children. That's pretty neat."
Volunteers of America of North Louisiana founded the Donald A. Webb Academy for Leadership and Service in 2003 at the LightHouse and it has since been instituted at five additional locations across Shreveport and Bossier City. Children ages 5 to 18 receive tutoring and academic assistance as well as participate in leadership and service training.
"To see these young folk in college, for instance, becoming quite distinguished people is so marvelous," Webb said. "That's the deepest kind of satisfaction, to see the results. Also I do believe this is what God wants, and, therefore, one has a sense that you're fulfilling what God put you on earth to do. That's not a bad feeling."
Webb has authored three books, including "Deep Calls to Deep: How Christ Empowers Lives of Service" and "The Best Year Yet." All the proceeds from the sales of the two books go to Volunteers of America.
Webb said he is deeply moved and honored to receive the 2010 Samaritan of the Year Award but maintains his modesty about it.
"Of course, there is always the Reggie Bush syndrome," he said. "Maybe I should give it back, because there are lots of people more deserving."
Spoken just like a true samaritan.
If you go
WHAT: 2010 Samaritan of the Year Award Banquet
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 14.
WHERE: East Ridge Country Club, 1000 Stewart Drive, Shreveport.
ADMISSION: $100. Table sponsorships start at $800. Deadline for reservations is Oct. 7.
About Centenary College of Louisiana
Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 373 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.