Two women will be honored next month for their work connecting people who may never have crossed paths.
Alyce Maxey and Lyndell McAllister have been selected as the honorees for the 2014 Unity Honors luncheon, which for 10 years has honored Longview residents who “help lead social justice and equality matters including enhancing race relations efforts in the city.”
“No one in their right mind volunteers unless they have the desire to make life better for someone else,” said Maxey, a 77-year-old Henderson native who serves at the Kilgore Crisis Center, the Wesley Foundation, Hope Haven Home for Women, Newgate Mission and the Gregg County Historical Museum.
Maxey said she didn’t expect the honor for the work she has done.
“I do absolutely nothing for those reasons,” she added.
She graduated from St. Phillips College in San Antonio with a degree in education and moved to Longview in 1952. Maxey and her husband Lesley have one son, Greg. Maxey has worked for Longview ISD, Gregg County and served as the first court clerk in Easton.
For 25 years, she and her husband worked at their family-owned business, Tip Top Cleaners in South Longview.
“Mrs. Maxey is one of the most humble people I have had the pleasure of meeting,” said Keeta King, the city of Longview liaison to the Unity and Diversity Committee, which hosts the event. “She just likes to do what she does, and she doesn’t care who gets the credit. She has an uncanny knack for bringing people from diverse backgrounds and lives together.”
The second honoree, McAllister, is a social worker who became a contract worker with the city of Longview in 1992 and helped guide a community coalition to address the issues of alcohol and other drug abuse with the Longview Drug Task Force, now known as Partners in Prevention.
She helped create Bridges Out of Poverty, a project aimed to help children and families break free of poverty, and has served on the East Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Parenting Resource Center of East Texas, Zonta Club, Pine Tree Education Foundation and the Junior League of Longview.
“It’s a huge honor; a very humbling honor,” McAllister said. “I think what I know is not from me personally, but what I have learned is from all those people who have taught me along the way.”
Through her years working with the Unity and Diversity Committee, which also sponsors the city’s multicultural festival, she said she had learned a lot but called herself “a work in progress.”
“Frankly, I don’t feel anywhere close to being able to really share that (honor). All I can say is that several of (the previous honorees) have played such a huge role in my own personal development. They have aided in me understanding the importance and benefits of really embracing diversity and having that be a part of our work and life and community,” McAllister said.
Tim Watson from LeTourneau University will be the master of ceremony for the event, which is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Jan. 30 at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center.
Tickets can be purchased for $15 through Jan. 20 online at http://getmeregistered.com/UnityHonorsLuncheon and are available at Partners in Prevention, 140 E. Tyler St, No. 400; Broughton Recreation Center, 801 MLK Blvd.; Barron’s Bookstore, 405 W. Loop 281; Longview ISD Education Support Center, 1301 E. Young St; and Longview Public Library, 222 W. Cotton St. No tickets will be available on the day of the luncheon.