VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK: Lynn Foley volunteers to make Vicksburg a better place

Published 8:00 am Sunday, January 23, 2022

This week’s Vicksburg Post Volunteer of the Week is Lynn Foley, who volunteers with the United Way of West Central Mississippi.

Foley is a 37-year-plus veteran in the hospitality industry, having held hotel sales positions in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee and Florida.  She is currently the Executive Director of Sales & Marketing for Southern Hospitality Services, LLC with 14 nationally branded hotels in Monroe/West Monroe, La., Vicksburg, Flowood, Pearl and Southaven, Miss. She is an active member of St. Michael Catholic Church and serves as a commentator, choir member and choir cantor. Foley is passionate about musical theatre and enjoys performing with Vicksburg Theatre Guild, Vicksburg Chamber Choir and taking adult tap dance lessons at Debra Franco’s Dance Studio. She is the mother to Ashley Foley (Fairfax, Va.), and her twin sons, Michael (Vicksburg) & Matthew (Madison, Miss.) Foley.  

How long have you been volunteering? 

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 I think I have always volunteered in some form or fashion since I was a teenager. I offered my time through the church, civic and business organizations, but I became truly serious about offering my time, talents and treasures when I moved to Vicksburg in 2003. This community just has a way of pulling you in and inspiring you to do good for your fellow man.

What is your favorite memory while volunteering?  

This really has nothing to do with my actual volunteering, but one of my favorite stories is this.  When my term as Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce Board President was coming to a close, I asked Michele Connelly, Executive Director, United Way of West Central Mississippi, if there might be something I could do for United Way. I was ready to dedicate myself to giving back to my community in more of a service capacity. She smiled her big smile, gave a chuckle and said in her excited voice, “Of course, we have a spot for you.” Little did I know that what she had in mind was my serving on the annual campaign cabinet and then moving into the campaign chair position for a couple of years. All I wanted to do was read to a third-grade class or serve meals to the needy. But, I wouldn’t trade my involvement with United Way for anything. Also, I am looking forward to serving as their Board Chair this year. Oh, by the way, I did finally get to read to a third-grade class about 3 years later.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering?  

My advice would be to align yourself with an organization whose mission aligns with your passions.

What have you learned from volunteering with this organization? 

Oh goodness, the lessons are endless. I truly believe I learn something new every time I attend a meeting, have a conversation with a staff member, visit with a partner agency and/or volunteer for an event. I guess my biggest takeaway is what UWWCM really does for our community.  Yes, they do raise money to fund programs with partner agencies that align with the four target issues as outlined in the strategic plan:  Education, Financial Stability, Health and Support Services. They have been involved in Disaster Relief: Flood, Tornado, Hurricane, and COVID-19. They work with the community and other organizations in meeting the challenges of food insecurity. They provide rent and mortgage assistance. They implement new and support existing programs that address literacy and financial stability.  But the biggest lesson I have learned and appreciate more than anything is hearing the testimonies of individuals that have been recipients of the UWWCM Partner Agency services. So many lives have been changed for the better.

If there is a volunteer who should be featured, please submit their name and contact information to volunteer@vicksburgpost.com.