Lynn McBee doesn’t necessarily fit in at The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center in downtown Dallas, but that doesn’t keep the seventh generation Texan from making herself at home when she walks the recently renovated courtyards.
Whether fielding questions from residents, asking security officers how their day is going, or ensuring that a backpack laden drifter makes it through the intake process minutes before the door’s close for the day, McBee is unabashed when it comes to helping others.
“I just don’t know a different way,” she said.
McBee gets that from growing up in the small Texas coastal city of Freeport, where she watched her father – a man she said would give the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it – embrace the philosophy of civic responsibility.
“When you’re from a small town, you’re just kind of all in it together,” she said. “You know the families that have and do not; there are no private schools, and you go to school with kids who have got nothing, and you play with kids who have got nothing, and you embrace all walks of life.
“Everybody is kind of in it together, and there are no bubbles or boundaries.”
McBee – a petite blonde whose depth extends from a career in biochemistry to having a cheeky daredevil side – said she brought her small-town upbringing with her to Dallas after moving to the area a couple of years out of college.
Over the years, her reputation as a philanthropist and volunteer has grown, and the number of boards she’s served on and events she’s chaired is too long to list.
Her heart for the community is one of several reasons People Newspaper has named her Person of the Year.
“Two of my close friends have worked with her on committees or boards, and they rave about her,” Publisher Pat Martin said. “They describe her as a rainmaker – she brings awareness and millions of dollars to many charitable organizations.
“They say she’s an amazing connector and motivator; she’s tireless, she’s brilliant, beautiful, kind, and fun. How could we not choose her as Person of the Year?”
John Castle, former chairman of the Bridge’s board, described McBee as the type of person whose reputation precedes her.
And while her ability to bridge gaps across the community and bring in millions is true, McBee is so much more, Castle said. McBee is “a doer. She is an intellect, a listener, and she also knows how to read a balance sheet and financial statements.”
Sara Losinger, a civic leader who has served on several boards with McBee, said the role McBee plays in the community goes far beyond outreach.
“When I first met Lynn, I thought, OK, she likes people,” she said. “And then, I thought, no, she cares about people. She is not doing it just to be on a board and have people pat her on the back. She cares about the end recipient.”