Donna Britt is awarded the Golden Deeds award Tuesday evening at the Baton Rouge Marriott.
Donna Britt honored as 2018 Golden Deeds Award recipient: 'Donna's favorite hobby is volunteering'
Donna Britt, winner of the 2018 Golden Deeds Award, has a suggestion for those looking to volunteer and make an impact on their community.
"I encourage you to pick something that makes your heart sing and stay there," Britt said at the awards banquet on Tuesday night.
Guest speaker East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III, whose father, Hillar Moore II, was a Golden Deeds recipient in 2001, noted Britt's years of volunteer work, including in the library of Progress Elementary, for Boy Scouts Troop 7 and at the Baranco-Clark YMCA.
"Donna's favorite hobby is volunteering," Moore III said.
Britt retired in June from her 37-year career as an anchor for WAFB-TV. She had continued to work in TV news for close to a year after being diagnosed with amytrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive, neurodegenerative disease.
Britt, 60, has continued to be an active part of the community. She had planned to be at a walk at Highland Road Community Park on Nov. 10 to raise funds for research for ALS, muscular dystrophy and other neurodegenerative diseases, but, as she posted on Facebook, had not been able to participate.
"I was planning to go, but a fever canceled that. Will you walk for me?" she asked the community.
More than a month after ending her 37-year run as an anchor for WAFB-TV, Baton Rouge television news icon Donna Britt candidly spoke about her…
On Dec. 9, she will serve as the grand marshal for the Jambalaya Festival Association's Christmas parade in Gonzales.
Britt has served on the boards of many local organizations, including the Baranco-Clark YMCA, Baton Rouge Ballet Theater, Girl Scouts, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Louisiana Association for Arts in Education, Salvation Army and Volunteers in Public Schools.
The Golden Deeds Award recipient is voted on by the Inter-Civic Council of Greater Baton Rouge, made up of 28 nonprofits and civic organizations throughout the area.
Southeast Louisiana has known Donna Britt for her television news career. On Wednesday, she was recognized for everything she has done off-camera.
The Advocate, along with the council, has presented the Golden Deeds award, which honors those who have volunteered to benefit the community, since 1942.
"There was really no question, after knowing everything she's done for our city and making Baton Rouge a better place to live," Dee Mather-Muenzler, president of the Inter-Civic Council, said before the banquet.
Initially, the award was given each year to a resident of Baton Rouge. That was later expanded to include all of East Baton Rouge Parish. This summer, the area was expanded to include West Baton Rouge, Ascension, East and West Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee and St. Helena parishes.
Britt and her husband, Mark Ballard, the Advocate's Capitol News Bureau chief, have a daughter, Anne Ballard-Yanaka, a DNA researcher in Providence, Rhode Island, and a son, Louis, an honors student senior at Episcopal High who's also an Eagle Scout.
Before Tuesday's banquet, Britt reflected on her position as a local celebrity and how she seems to have become a symbol of encouragement for others.
"Maybe I'm the point man," she said. "I show them the ball and they take it."