The Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program recognized its community partner, BBVA Compass, during a special luncheon event Thursday at Baptist Hospital Orange. Pictured, from left to right, are Norma Sampson, Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program; Todd Senters and Becky Trahan, Baptist Hospital Orange; Will Leonard, BBVA Compass, Lana Thibodeaux, BBVA Compass; Regina Rogers, Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program; and Christi Moerbe, BBVA Compass. Photo by Tommy Mann Jr. 

By Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

A local financial institution was recognized for its community support and partnership with a renowned regional agency during a special event Thursday.

The Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program held a special luncheon event Thursday morning at Baptist Hospital Orange as a show of gratitude to the BBVA Compass branch in Orange for its support of the agency’s efforts to save lives.

“BBVA Compass of Orange has been a long-time supporter of our initiatives,” said Normal Sampson, director of Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program. “The ‘Gift of Life’s’ sustainability is dependent upon such supporters. Every since the ‘Gift of Life’ started, Orange has been one of the cornerstones of our system and BBVA is a big part of that.”

According to a press release prepared by the “Gift of Life” Program, BBVA Compass, the fourth largest bank in Texas,  has annually supported the “Gift of Life” Women’s Health Program since 2000.

This program provides uncompensated healthcare services through seven counties in Southeast Texas, which includes the provision of free clinical breast exams, mammograms and diagnostic testing, when needed.

Will Leonard, Beaumont city president of BBVA Compass, was humbled by the director’s remarks and gratitude.

“It’s an honor to support a program like the ‘Gift of Life,’” Leonard said. “And I want to thank (Gift of Life) for what you do. We want to support causes such as this when we can.”

According to its official website, The Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program was established in Beaumont, Texas, in 1994 by Regina Rogers as a tribute to her mother, Julie, a breast cancer survivor, who had a double mastectomy in 1988 and who died following complications from a stroke and heart attack in 1998. Originally dedicated to providing free mammograms for medically underserved women, in the past twelve years, the organization’s services have multiplied and the agency has grown into one of the largest cancer screening initiatives of its type in the state of Texas.

In 2000, the “Gift of Life” broadened its breast cancer mission to include prostate cancer, offering free screenings and educational presentations for men.

Rogers, a well-known philanthropist and community activist across Southeast Texas, was on hand Thursday also.

“Orange has always been very important to us,” Rogers said to the crowd in attendance. “It’s always had a special place in our heart. And the support of BBVA means so much to us, and the community as well.”

Todd Senters, Service Line Administrator of Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, praised “Gift of Life” for its efforts to save lives and BBVA Compass for its support of the agency’s mission.

“Baptist Hospitals partnership with ‘Gift of Life’ goes back a couple of decades, and their reach goes beyond what we can do here in a brick and mortar facility,” Senters explained. “All of us working together to eliminate cancer really is a team effort.”

County officials Barry Burton and John Banken, Commissioners of Precinct 2 and Precinct 3, respectively concurred.

“There are not enough words to say how much the ‘Gift of Life’ is appreciated,” Banken stated. “It’s takes special people to do this, and I feel God has made it your calling to help.”

“Anything we can do to get the word out, we will gladly do,” Burton added. “The ‘Gift of Life’ touches so many lives and saves lives. There is no greater calling than that.”

For more information about the Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program, visit www.giftoflifebmt.org online. For more information on BBVA Compass, visit BBVACompass.com.