Forum 35 and Cox Communications recently honored several Baton Rougeans for their tireless efforts to make our community better and stronger.
Forum 35 honored two of its members for their impact on the city at its Community Impact Breakfast on Nov. 14 at Boudreaux's. Fairleigh Cook Jackson, whose day job is executive director of Preserve Louisiana, received the Baton Rouge Original Award for her service with area and statewide nonprofit organizations. Melissa Parmelee, development director with the National Audubon Society Louisiana, received the Baton Rouge Young Professional Award for her involvement with Forum 35 as well as various other local nonprofit organizations. This year's Corporate Partner of the Year Award went to the Water Institute of the Gulf in recognition of its involvement in Forum 35's initiatives and its contribution to the Baton Rouge community.
The awards were presented by President Mathew Laborde and the morning's featured speaker, Baton Rouge Area Foundation CEO John Davies, who talked about the importance of building young leaders to be advocates for their community.
In addition to Davies, attendees also heard from Brandon Kelly, vice president of Home Bank, and Erin Monroe Wesley, special counsel for the office of Gov. John Bel Edwards. They shared how their membership in Forum 35 "informed and advanced" their careers.
John Walther was recognized as Louisiana's 2017 Cox Conserves Hero at a reception hosted by Cox Communications and the Trust for Public Land on Nov. 8 at the Old Governor's Mansion. The celebration kicked off the Center for Planning Excellence's Louisiana Smart Growth Summit.
As veteran volunteer with the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, in particular serving as a guiding force behind 20 unique artificial reef deployments across the state's coast as well as its Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program, the association will receive $10,000 in Walther's name.
The two runners-up for the award were Kristy Hancock, Urban Conservancy, and Scott Howard, NOLA Parks for All. Their two nonprofits will each receive $5,000. Since the Cox Conserves Heroes program was created, nearly $800,000 has been donated to environmental nonprofits and some 200 volunteers honored.