Lylabeth King Receives Jefferson Award for Community Service

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Each year KBTX-TV seeks out a few good men and women for outstanding public service in our community.

And some become Jefferson Award recipients as part of The American Institute for Public Service.

This year in partnership with Spirit of Texas Bank, four deserving people will be honored.

Lylabeth King of Bryan is one of them because she has a deep passion for helping others.

It's music to the ears of church goers. King and Youth Director Steven Silva are regulars at the Salvation Army church service in Bryan on Sundays.

But Lylabeth's involvement started years earlier when the Salvation Army put out a call for help to feed a thousand displaced Louisiana residents from Hurricane Katrina.

"And I rolled up my sleeves and I started cooking and working, and for some reason I came back the second day," says King.

And Lylabeth was put in charge for two weeks of cooking for those who were evacuated from Katrina's path.

"And you became known as The General? (laughs) Well, I kind of..I kind of tend to take charge. I don't, that's just my personality."

And that personality and cooking expertise have served her well when she and other volunteer workers cook for less fortunate kids on Wednesday nights at the Salvation Army.

"Ya'll put your gloves back on."

On this night of character building, the kids are also building their own pizzas, and Lylabeth is right there in the mix.

She says, "These kids just need somebody to really pay special attention to them. And I feel like I've served a purpose for that."

Teenager and Salvation Army member Allana Pullen believes in Lylabeth.

"I have a special relationship with her personally. She's like a mother to me, basically, and it would be different without her. I've been coming here for past 3 years and I really love her as a person."

Salvation Army Lieutenant Jeremy Walker helped nominate King for a Jefferson Award.

"She's always right there to help, whether it's picking up trash, the cooking, or running around with the kids, or teaching piano, or whatever."

Lieutenant Michelle Walker echoes the feeling, "She'll wear herself out trying to help everybody and that's what I love about her. She goes and goes and goes until she can't go anymore, so that's why I felt like she needed to be nominated."

And all of that helping, and cooking, and helping some more, evolved:
"Into helping with Angel Tree, with the Salvation Army ringing the bell every time I can. I've just always liked to help people and I feel like God gave me a heart to serve and so I'm really not happy unless I am helping someone," says King.

For years she and her husband, Art King, worked together, committing their lives to helping the less fortunate. But Lylabeth lost Art last year. With misty eyes as she reminisces, she knows he will be receiving this award, too.

"It's going to feel strange standing there alone without him, so yes, I think he's definitely a part of it."

As if she doesn't do enough, Lylabeth was also nominated by Save Our Streets Ministries, where she volunteers with their teen girls and women's ministries.

KBTX will air the Jefferson Awards on Tuesday, April 30, at 6:30 pm, live from the Hagler Auditorium of the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center at the George Bush Library.