TEXARKANA -- Working in the service industry and maintaining a heart for service can be a difficult balancing act, but not for Donnie Spriggs.
Spriggs is working to open Monjunis Italian Cafe and Grocery and Buttercups Cupcakes in Texarkana early next year, all while running Silver Star Smokehouse. He also is an ambassador with the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, serves on the boards of directors for Randy Sams Outreach and Friends for a Cause and is a subcommittee member for United Way and Main Street Texarkana events.
"Balancing work and nonprofit is something I enjoy," he said. "I like to stay busy and be on the go."
Despite a busy schedule, Spriggs recently completed his bachelor's degree at Texas A&M University-Texarkana.
"I did this not only to prove to myself I could do it, but to prove to my employees that even being busy with work you can still make time to finish your degree," Spriggs said.
Spriggs has been with Silver Star for eight years, during which he said he has endeavored to earn the respect of his employees, coworkers and people in the community by investing in each of them. Hired at the age of 19, Spriggs said he chose to trade the typically carefree years of young adulthood for the responsibility of managing a business to accelerate his professional growth.
"The majority of the staff were either my age or older," Spriggs said, recalling the early years with the company.
Along with everything on his already full plate, Spriggs stays active in county and state elections. Last year, he was campaign manager for Josh Davis in his run for Bowie County tax assessor.
Spriggs has no intentions of slowing down. He wants to continue to grow his career and facilitate economic growth by helping to launch more restaurants in Texarkana.
"I like to see growth in Texarkana and doing my part in helping it to be successful," Spriggs said.
And he's getting an opportunity to do so with Monjunis.
David Alvis, owner of Silver Star, also owns the Monjunis in Shreveport and elisted Spriggs' assistance in bringing the Italian restaurant back to the Twin Cities, along with Buttercups. The restaurant and bakery are expected to open in January 2023 at 511 E. 51st St., which is the former Copeland's.
In addition to helping grow the city, Spriggs has hopes that he can help grow Friends for a Cause and work with other philanthropic organizations.
Longtime friend Dr. Cindy Porter commends Spriggs for his diligence.
"I have told everyone that Donnie has restored my faith in the youth of today," said Porter, a local pediatrician.
Porter met Spriggs through his involvement with Race for the Cure. She said his sincerity and passion for service are undeniable.
"The more I got to know him, the more I realized what an amazing person he is and what a big heart he has. He is so eager to be involved in our community and to better it," she said.
For Spriggs, the most effective ways he has found to help others is by mentoring them and being involved in challenging situations where he can help the outcome directly. It could be helping an employee buy a first car, supporting a friend registering for school or giving advice to other young professionals.
"I have learned over the years that if you don't support the community and what they are doing, the community will not support you," he said.