Four Pine Belt residents were honored for their commitment to caring for the community as winners of the Spirit in Action Awards, presented at the annual Spirit of Women Spring Event. Lynn Gammill has dedicated her entire life to helping make Mississippi and Hattiesburg a better place to live. Just a few examples of her work toward this goal include serving on the small committee responsible for maintaining and preserving George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, as a founder and active board member of the Crosby Arboretum and as a board member for the Hattiesburg Public Library, HCLO, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Larry Doleac has spent most of his adult life trying to help others, from building centers to teach parenting skills for at-risk families to helping in situations of domestic abuse and violence. He raised millions of dollars to build the community youth baseball complex that bears his name, which serves more than 700 young baseball players each season. Mike Lopinto is a guiding force for events featuring classical and popular celebrities in the Pine Belt and currently serves as the public relations, marketing and event coordinator for the Southern Miss School of Music. Recently, Lopinto directed the Southern Miss production of “Sweeney Todd,” overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to make sure the show truly did go on after the sets were destroyed in the February tornado. Lillie Willis is the go-to person in the Pine Belt for patients and their families needing information or guidance when facing cancer. As the American Cancer Society’s health representative, Willis initiates programs to increase community awareness and works to provide grants for patients to support them during cancer treatment, among many other beneficial contributions.
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