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Leslie Billinger and Debra Toney give back to their communities in a big way; still they were surprised to be selected to be part of the torch relay for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

On Monday, each woman will run a leg of the relay as part of Coca-Cola’s 22-member torch relay team, selected for their commitment to community service and active, healthy living.

Billinger, a Senior Shopper Marketing Manager for Coca-Cola, from Marina Del Rey, Calif., was nominated by co-worker and friend Catherine Castaneda for the torch relay.

She said she was honored to be nominated, but thought “there are lots of people who do tremendous work for the planet and the community” who had a better shot of being chosen.

“In December, I found out I was a finalist…and I still didn’t think I would be selected,” Billinger told BlackAmericaWeb.com. “Then when I found out in the spring that I was selected, I was absolutely shocked.”

A volunteer for the Boys & Girls Club of America’s (BGCA), Billinger persuaded her employer to develop basketball tournaments for all 28 BGCA clubs in Los Angeles County.

She also serves on the board of the Venice California BGCA and has worked on several committees. She is currently co-chairing the Coca-Cola ‘Live Positively’ Basketball Tournament, a fundraising event in its third year that hosts more than 500 kids.

She also has worked with the Big Sister, “Each One, Teach One” mentorship program and has served on the Advisory Board of the Los Angeles Professional Women in Sports and Events (WISE), and was recently honored with its “Women of the Year Award.”

Billinger says she just hunkers down and does what she believes needs to be done and doesn’t think about being noticed for her work.

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article courtesy of BlackAmericaWeb.com

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