Gonzales resident wins Angel Award

Staff reports
Betsey Baldwin, shown kneeling in the center, was awarded the 2009 Angel Award. Baldwin founded the Ascension Parish Inclusion League, an outlet for children with and without disabilities to enjoy recreational activities together.

Gonzales resident Betsey Baldwin has been named a winner of the 2009 Angel Award, presented by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation.

The annual Angel Award recognizes eight individuals from around the state who do extraordinary volunteer work for Louisiana’s at-risk children. The award includes a $20,000 grant for each honoree’s chosen charity.

In an effort to promote diversity and inclusion, Baldwin founded the Ascension Parish Inclusion League, an outlet for children with and without disabilities to enjoy recreational activities together.

The Inclusion League enhances self-esteem and promotes acceptance, understanding and friendship by creating an atmosphere that values diversity.

“Making a difference in our communities requires time and money, and that’s why the Blue Cross Foundation is pleased to recognize Betsey with a $20,000 grant through the Angel Award,” said Christy Reeves, executive director of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation.

“Through the Angel Award program, we’re partnering with outstanding volunteers to support Louisiana communities and create a healthier state.”

To date, more than 100 Angel Award honorees, from age 17 to 93, have come from all walks of life and have been selected based on their efforts to enhance a child’s life – physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. What they have in common is an unselfish focus on improving the welfare of children in their communities. With the addition of these 2009 Angels, grants to their charitable organizations will total more than $1 million.

A committee of past recipients of the Angel Award, now in its 15th year, considered 62 nominations from throughout the state before selecting this year’s winners. Rounding out this year’s eight winners are Vicki Ellis of Baton Rouge, Jill Rigby Garner of Baton Rouge, Lynn Hobbs-Green of New Orleans, Janet Leslie of Maurepas, Jean McManus of Eunice, Minh Nguyen of New Orleans and Phillip Thomas of Monroe. The winners will be honored at a presentation ceremony Nov. 5 at the LSU Lod Cook Alumni Center in Baton Rouge.

For more information on the Angel Award program, visit the Blue Cross Web site at www.bcbsla.com and click on Community, then Angel Award. There, visitors can research information on hundreds of past Angel Award nominees, finalists and overall winners by name, year of nomination or geographical location.