Matt Young and Nora Popillion were named the 2019 Humanitarians of the Year during the Family and Youth Counseling Agency's annual meeting and awards ceremony on Tuesday.
Young is the director of cultural affairs for Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center, while Popillion is the entertainment/public relations director for Delta Downs.
Lisa Guerrero, Family and Youth Counseling Agency's board member, said the pair's leadership and civic acts have significantly improved Southwest Louisiana.
"(They have) turned their passion into a career and truly define who a humanitarian is," she said.
Guerrero described Young as a "powerhouse" whose dedication shines through in every project he is involved with.
Young said he gives back to Family and Youth because the agency's counselors helped him during a difficult time in his life.
"It feels surreal to be recognized by an organization that you hold so dear to your heart," he said. "(For) a community that's already given me so much, I want to strive even more to give back."
Young quoted Maya Angelou during his acceptance speech.
"When you learn, teach; when you get, give," he said.
Guerrero described Popillion as a "prime example of what it means to be caring and selfless." She said he gives back "not because it's required, but because it's something he enjoys doing."
Whether it's his booming voice as an emcee or representing Delta Downs at countless philanthropic events, Popillion goes out of his way to do good for those around him, she said.
One of 10 children, Popillion said his roots motivated him to live with a spirit of generosity.
"We had nothing to share but share ourselves, and that's what I've done most of my life," he said.
Emma Dunham and David Spicer, Sulphur High School graduates, were named Youths of the Year. Both served for several years as members of Family and Youth's Leadership Center for Youth. Dunham said the experiences and guidance of the program's facilitator gave her the courage to rise for the award.
"Youth today, leaders tomorrow ... it's really true," she said.
Spicer, who is attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was unavailable to attend. Dunham spoke proudly of Spicer's character and accomplishments.
"I see (leadership) in him all the time," she said.