Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes

In Character: John Hightower

CONSIDERING, he is a kind, gentle soul with a love of the community and a dedication to giving back. He credits his father, who was deeply involved in philanthropic endeavors where he lived—Lake Charles and Baltimore. “It was important for me to be as dedicated to my community as my father was.”

CONSIDERING, his plate is full. He is the current chair for Adult Literacy Advocates, the treasurer and past president of the Press Club of Baton Rouge and the secretary and past president for the Environment and Health Council of Louisiana. He has also been very involved over the years in the Istrouma Area Council of the Boy Scouts, the Arthritis Association, AARP, United Way, Junior Achievement, the YMCA and the Arts Council.

CONSIDERING, he was recently chosen as the Volunteer of the Year for the March of Dimes Louisiana Chapter. “When our second grandson was born prematurely, the folks at the March of Dimes really stepped up to the plate and gave my grandson, daughter-in-law and son very tender special care. The treatment during the weeks that grandson Bennett stayed in the NICU at Woman’s Hospital is probably the single most outstanding situation that touched our family personally and made an impression.”

CONSIDERING, he spent decades as a lobbyist for private and nonprofit organizations, and he currently serves as the senior development officer at the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Professionally, he’s an active member of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. He’s served on national committees for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as the National Association of Manufacturers. “After you’ve lived long enough and been involved in so many organizations throughout the community, you will meet a lot of people. Networking is fun for me.”

CONSIDERING, he’s been married to Marsha for 43 years, and they have three children and six grandchildren. He enjoys traveling with his wife—most recently to St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

CONSIDERING, he enjoys encouraging others to get involve with the community. “Helping nonprofits or other organizations fulfill and even complete their missions is personally rewarding. In most cases, the attainment of some semblance of normalcy in someone in need actually assists a wider circle of family, friends and citizens of our community. There is great personal satisfaction from these personal outcomes.”

CONSIDERING, he probably won’t slow down much in the years to come. “I retired once before. And should I retire again anytime soon, I will at least continue serving our community if needed.”