Burke longs to help the community

Published 10:10 am Monday, December 26, 2016

The desire to volunteer and help others is in Lori Burke’s nature.

“I feel volunteering and helping others is part of my makeup; it’s in my DNA. It’s the way God wired me,” she said. “I have this need to want to help people.”

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The business development manager for Ameristar Casino, Burke serves on the United Way of West Central Mississippi Board of Directors, the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau board and the board of the Vicksburg Catholic School’s advisory council. She also teaches Sunday school at Crossway Church.

She became acquainted with United Way through another volunteer program, the organization’s Young Leadership Group, when she was invited by then-United Way director Barbara Tolliver to join the United Way board.

“United Way is one of the most important organizations serving the community and giving back to the community and to those who are less fortunate, and that’s something I’m very passionate about,” she said. “It’s one of the most rewarding boards I serve on.”

She also serves on several United Way committees, adding, “When I see a need, I feel I have to act. To me, it’s just the natural thing to do.”

“I’ve been volunteering my entire life, and it’s a passion I’m passing on to my kids. I was ringing the bell (for the Salvation Army) Monday, and I had one of my daughters ringing with me.”

Burke said Ameristar is very supportive of its employees volunteering and serving the community, and allows them to take time off from work to serve the community. It helps her and her “team members,” as she calls the other employees, get plugged into the community.

“With the support Ameristar gives us, it’s not hard to get people passionate to go out and volunteer,” she said.

Burke joined the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau Board at the urging of former Mayor Laurence Leyens, who believed her background in marketing would be a plus for the organization, which has the job of marketing Vicksburg and Warren County to the rest of the state and the U.S.

“I love serving on the VCB board, and applying my marketing background to promote Vicksburg, and even before joining the board, I was promoting Vicksburg everywhere we went. I believe our community has a lot to offer tourists.”

It was her children who got Burke interested in working with the Vicksburg Catholic Schools advisory council, which works with the school administration to help operate the school and set policy.

She had been serving on the school’s public relations and development board for two years when St. Aloysius principal Buddy Strickland asked her to serve on the council’s board.

“It was an opportunity to serve in another capacity and use my background in marketing an PR to help the school and serve my two children who go there,” she said. “And it was an opportunity to improve the school and my children’s education.”

Burke said she plans to continue her volunteer work as long as she is able.

“I think I want to retire and do volunteer work full-time,” she said.

“It’s very gratifying to see how people respond when they receive help, and to know I’m helping people by giving back, and to see how the community responds with its generosity.” 

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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