Patti and Lee Lawrence are recipients of the 2023 Leaders in Philanthropy Award for Acadia Parish.
With family roots in Charleston, South Carolina, Patti’s career started in Greenville in broadcasting and then worked on the staff of Senator Storm Thurmond in Washington.She subsequently had an executive position in the Department of Commerce, working with World’s Fairs, both in Knoxville and then New Orleans, where she and Lee met and married in 1984.
Lee is a native of Crowley and had a 40-year career in health care management. He started as an administrative resident at Methodist Hospital in New Orleans and, over nearly 17 years, worked his way up to President of the system and Chair of the Louisiana Hospital Association. He went on to spend 25 years as president of an alliance of non-profit hospitals and hospital systems in Florida and Alabama.
In 2010, at retirement, Lee and Patti moved back to Crowley and immersed themselves in community affairs. They had made many trips to Crowley during their working years and felt that returning to Lee’s home would be an ideal place to become involved in community, civic, and church , and to generally give back to the community. They were able to reacquire Lee’s family home.
Lee and Patti are devoted members of Crowley First United Methodist Church, where they have both served on the Church Council and on the Finance Committee; Patti served as Co-chair of a significant church renovation project.
They are strong supporters of the Grand Opera House of the South, where Lee served eight years on the board of directors. He has been a member of Crowley Rotary for 12 years and has served several terms on its board while participating in numerous Rotary projects. Lee has served two four-year terms on the Chamber Board and was involved in the coming together of One Acadia and the Crowley Chamber to form the Acadia Parish Chamber. He served two terms on the Acadia General Hospital Citizen’s Advisory Council, as the Hospital merged with Lafayette General Health System and subsequently Ochsner. Lee also served a term on the Acadia Parish Tourist Commission as an interim while Crowley replace its representative.
Patti, for many years, has served on the board of Crowley Lions Club and was its President for three consecutive terms. She routinely assists in performing eye exams of elementary students as on of her Lions’ projects. For seven years, she served on the board of Crowley Main Street and the Historical Board, devoting many volunteer hours to the preservation and renovation of the beautiful downtown area. She was a member of the Garden Club and served two years on the Cleanest City Campaign. She also served two years on the Patient Advisory Board for the Lafayette General Health Center.
Lee and Patti are supportive of diversity, a more blended community, and better education for all. They sing in the Crowley Community Choir, with performances at Christmas and for the International Day of Prayer. They are sponsors of the Greetings From Levy Park concert series, the International Rice Festival, and the Tony Robichaux Sports Complex. They work with the Feed the Hungry program and contribute to Audry Spencer’s Learning Center, the Art Council, and various local charitable events. Lee is currently working with a group from Rotary to assist in establishing a Crowley Boys and Girls Club. There are even several examples where Lee and Patti have provided a home to families after floor and hurricane disasters.