Twenty individuals who saved a life in the past year were honored at the 2014 Lafourche Pride Awards Banquet on Saturday, October 4, in Thibodaux. Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office employees and local citizens were honored for feats of bravery, exceptional work, and selflessness during the annual awards program now in its 21st year. The Lafourche Deputies Association sponsors and organizes the program through the financial support of its members who are employees of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Craig Webre utilizes this annual event to publicly honor employees and civilians who perform commendable work, save someone’s life, or perform their job in a distinguished and commendable manner. In all, a total of 76 individuals, including 46 LPSO deputies and 11 retirees, were honored on Saturday night.
The awards program, held at the Warren J. Harang Jr. Municipal Auditorium in Thibodaux, honored 20 individuals, 16 of whom are civilians, with Lifesaving Awards in recounting events in which 11 lives were saved in the past year. Most notably, five people were honored with Lifesaving Awards as a result of their actions during the December 26, 2013 shootings which claimed the lives of Susan “Pixie” Gouaux and Milton Bourgeois. Lieutenant Andrew Labat, Sergeant Warren Callais, and Sergeant Ronnie Verdon of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Lockport Police Officer Mike Glaspell were recognized with both Lifesaving Awards and Certificates of Commendation as a result of their actions at the Gouaux residence, which helped save the lives of Councilman L. Phillip Gouaux and his daughter Andrea. Additionally, Lisa Zeringue was honored for providing initial and crucial first aid in helping save the life of Milton Bourgeois’ wife, Ann, and LPSO Lieutenant Courtney Curole, Lieutenant John Robichaux, and Deputy Glenn Leray received Certificates of Commendation for their actions at the residence. Police Social Services Deputy Elizabeth Leon received a Distinguished Service Award for work with the families of the victims.
Avery Landry, Wayne Galloway and Connor Richard – the three boys who called 9-1-1 after discovering an elderly woman locked in a hot car – were honored yet again for their actions, each receiving a lifesaving medal. Deputy Danny Toups, who responded to the scene, received a commendation for his actions. Two Explorers from POST 323, Cady Hensley and Courtney Poche, also received Lifesaving Awards, along with civilians Ryan Babin, Eric Scallan, James Vedros Jr., Sy Arceneaux, Thomas Tondreau, Korik Sassoni, Austin Chavez, Ashley Bourgeois, Chett Gervais and Jimmy Gervais.
Dora Champagne, a 22-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, received the highest honor of the night as she was awarded the Sheriff’s Star, which is annually awarded to an outstanding employee as selected by Sheriff Webre. Champagne, who retired in September, was one of 11 retirees honored on Saturday. Donald Toups was recognized for 31 years of service to the agency, and retired couple David and Charlene Robichaux were honored for their 15 and 13 years of service, respectively. Joyce “Sam” Clark was honored for her 12 years of service and later received a Distinguished Service Award, the second of her career. Other retirees honored included Allen Collins, Greg Dumas Ulysse “Poochie” Morvant, Christine Adams, Kimberly Johnson, and Yvonne Ordoyne.
Deputy Jason Fallon received a Purple Heart after suffering two injuries over the past year. Deputy Fallon suffered a broken index finger on his left hand while pursuing a suspect in September 2013, and sustained a broken right hand in July 2014 in the same manner. His efforts resulted in arrests in both instances.
Judge John LeBlanc was honored with a Distinguished Service Award for his individual efforts and support of the P.A.C.T. Place Supervised Visitation and Exchange Center. LPSO Reserve Lieutenant Tim Wisinger and Reserve Deputy Jac Culver were also recognized for their volunteer hours and contributions to the agency. LPSO employees singled out for Distinguished Service included Chaplain Jim Duck, Chief Financial Officer Barret Ellender, and Information Technology Director Lieutenant Shannon Delatte, as well as Sergeant Jodie West, Sergeant Cammie Guidry, and Wayne Foret.
The LPSO Tax Section received a Unit Commendation for their outstanding work in the collection and disbursement of over $112 million in property taxes throughout Lafourche Parish. The jail committee, who led the efforts to organize a sales tax proposal and educate the public on the need for a new jail, also received a Unit Commendation. Individual Certificates of Commendation were also presented as follows:
- Assistant District Attorney Annette Fontana – for her work in obtaining convictions on three men who raped a Raceland woman at gunpoint.
- Sergeant Charlene Robichaux and Correctional Officer Stanley Jones – for stopping a Transitional Work Program inmate from escaping moments after discovering other inmates with contraband.
- Sergeant Ronnie Verdon and Deputies Aaron Schneck, Lashana Cooks, and Tara LeBouef – for initiating a foot patrol on East 23rd Street in February which led to the discovery of a domestic disturbance.
- Lieutenant Danny Eschete – for his tireless efforts on the new Communications Center.
- Sergeant Jeremy Doucet, Deputy Jay Watkins, and Detectives Joseph Anderson and Kevin Johnson – for their work on a January 2013 armed robbery in Bayou Blue.
- Sergeant Jeremy Doucet and Deputy Jay Watkins – for their actions in responding to a welfare concern in June.
- Narcotics Agent Justin Leonard – for his investigative work which helped lead to the takedown of heroin dealer in January 2014 and the seizure of over $43,000 in heroin.
- Deputies Deborah Jeff, Sheila Marcel, Doug Duet, Justin Benoit, Tynette Constransitch and Stephen Schieffler – for their response in the transportation of 33 inmates following a prison bus breakdown in July 2013.
The Lafourche Deputies Association also awarded Brandy Deroche with the Outstanding Member of the Year Award for her assistance throughout the year and the time she has volunteered to the organization. The award was voted on by the Lafourche Deputies Association Board of Directors which includes Brennan Matherne (President), Angela Barbera (Vice-President), Amy Guillot (Treasurer), Brandi Allemand (Secretary), Trent Duplantis, Andrew Labat, Ryan Dantin, Jeff Chamberlain, and Nellie Vicks.