Albert Lanny Roy Jr. — a longtime community activist and leader in Southwest Louisiana — died Dec. 3 at the age of 80.
During his life, Roy served as the executive director and vice president for the local ACORN chapter, now known as A Community Voice, where he served as its president.
Roy also worked with various organizations to help the underprivileged and less fortunate. He met with politicians on every level, including former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Roy told the American Press in 2015 that he didn't know he would end up being an activist. He was confined to a wheelchair after being exposed to chemicals while working construction at a chemical plant. His focus shifted to improving working conditions for employees.
"It's always been in me," Roy said. "What motivated me to keep on working is that I have always been a working man."
The Board of Directors of the Southwest Louisiana Law Center made Roy the first Emeritus board member in 2015. Roy had worked with the law center, formerly Southwest Louisiana Legal Services, since the 1960s to secure money for low-income communities.
"We were the voice for those disenfranchised people who didn't have a voice," Roy said.
Roy helped create programs, including a monthly course that taught first-time homebuyers how to budget or prepare for a loan application.
"He wouldn't miss (a meeting), even if two or three people showed up," former Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach said. "He really believed in what he was doing; he was very sincere."
Roach recalled Roy attending a community meeting, despite recently being hospitalized.
"He still had his hospital bracelet on," Roach said. "You could tell he was not feeling well, but he was at that microphone, talking to people, answering questions. That, to me, speaks volumes about the man and his commitment to people."
After the 2005 landfall of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Roy brought 500 storm victims to Washington, D.C. He testified in front of a U.S. Senate committee, securing a $150,000 loan to help storm victims restore their homes.
Mark Judson, SWLA law center executive director, said Roy played an important role in helping the underprivileged throughout the community.
"He used all of his connections to help people with government needs, legal representation needs," Judson said.
Judson said the law center's board of directors also named its conference room after Roy.
"The conference room is where all the behind the scenes work happens in order to make change for the better," he said.
Roach said Roy's faith was one of the biggest motivators in his service.
"He never met a stranger," Roach said. "He wanted to help people, regardless of background."
Visitation is set for 5-8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at Fondel Memorial Chapel, 832 N. Lyons St. The funeral service will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 2031 Opelousas St.