Helping Hearts

About 150 people attended the 11th annual Tri-City Helping Hearts Foundation banquet at the St. Mary Seniors Citizen Center in Morgan City. The organization helps families of deceased who cannot afford a proper burial. They serve the communities of Morgan City, Berwick, Patterson and Amelia. Volunteers at the banquet include, seated from left, Janice Willoughby, Barbara Walker, Connie Veal, Lisa Jordan, Ella Mahannah and Ruby Maize. Standing, from left, are Reginald Weary, Freddie Pitcher Jr., Jack Pratt, Edward Robinson, Herman Hartman, Larry Frank, Cornel Keeler and Raymond Colar.
(The Daily Review Photos by Preston Gill)

About 150 people attended the 11th annual Tri-City Helping Hearts Foundation banquet at the St. Mary Senior Citizens Center in Morgan City. The guest speaker was Freddie Pitcher Jr., the first African-American elected to a judgeship in Baton Rouge in 1983. In 1992 he was elected to the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal without opposition. The Rev. Jack A. Pratt presented Edward Robinson as this year’s honoree at the banquet. From left are Herman Hartman, president of the organization, Pratt, Robinson and Pitcher.
(The Daily Review Photos by Preston Gill)

Group aids the grieving

About 150 people attended the 11th annual fundraising Tri-City Helping Hearts Foundation banquet Saturday afternoon at the St. Mary Senior Citizens Center in Morgan City.
Herman Hartman, Tri-City Helping Hearts Foundation president, said the banquet is part of the group’s efforts to help those needing assistance with expenses of a proper burial. They serve the communities of Morgan City, Berwick, Patterson and Amelia.
The foundation assisted 21 families in 2013 and at least 10 families have been assisted this year, he said.
The non-profit foundation was formed after Jack Pratt and Cornel Keeler called a group of concerned citizens together to assist a family needing help burying their loved one 13 years ago, Hartman said. After helping the unnamed family, the group structured an organization in 2003 to continue the effort for other families, he said.
Original group members included Hartman, Reginald Weary, Ramon Colar, Mary Pinkston, Connie Veal and Martha Cox. All remain with Tri-City Helping Hearts Foundation.
Information on the group, including how donations can be made, can be obtained by calling Hartman at 985-384-3095.
If a family needs assistance offered by the foundation, then the family member in charge of burial arrangements must contact the funeral home director handling the arrangements. Funeral directors will then make the necessary contact with the foundation.
This year’s honoree was Edward Robinson, 74, the gospel announcer for KFRA/KBZE on Sunday afternoons. For several years he worked with the St. Mary Community Action Agency. He is the associate pastor of Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in Morgan City.
Robinson was recognized “because of his contribution in the community and his dedication and commitment to be involved in the lives of young people,” Hartman said.
Robinson assisted in forming the Soul Inspirational Choir, which was composed of young people who traveled the United States, the banquet program stated. Among those performing in the choir was foundation member Connie Veal and Patterson Mayor Rodney Grogan, Hartman said.
Robinson was raised in Morgan City where he attended Morgan City Colored High School, which at the time was first through 12th grade, according to the program.
The guest speaker was former Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Freddie Pitcher and who was the first African-American elected to a judgeship in Baton Rouge in 1983. He was elected to the Court of Appeals without opposition in 1992.
Pitcher was appointed chancellor of Southern University Law Center in 2002 and serves on several boards of directors including the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana.

By PRESTON GILL pgill@daily-review.com

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