Volunteers, staff person and Community Partner honored at Annual Meeting--August 20, 2013
Excerpts from the script
David Hamilton Volunteer of the Year—Bob and Estelle Babin
The Catholic Charities David Hamilton Volunteer of the Year award is presented to a volunteer who demonstrates excellence in service and exemplifies the Catholic Charities mission, values and commitment to the community.
Sometimes a faith-filled passion for meeting others’ needs lines up providentially with the work of Catholic Charities. We first encountered this dynamic duo less than a week after Hurricane Isaac devastated South Louisiana. Bob and Estelle Babin wanted to help wherever needed and coaxed their friends to endure days of 100 degree heat, sorting and loading food, water and cleaning supplies into cars of disaster victims. Later Bob, an avid home improvement guru, recruited a friend to repair the skirting on an elderly man’s trailer damaged by Isaac.
A couple of weeks passed, and a Catholic Charities disaster case worker found out about The Carriers, an older couple in Livingston Parish whose FEMA award barely covered the cost of building supplies to repair their damaged home. For the next six weeks, Bob and Estelle managed a team of handyman volunteers to replace Isaac damage from the floor to the roof—all the while adding work unrelated to the storm.
While they worked, The Babins became the Carrier’s extended family. The couple looked forward to work days, often eating lunch together and sharing stories. After the Carriers moved back home, they thanked the Babins for their faithfulness, friendship, compassion, and untiring work to make their house a home again.
As that project wound down, providence stepped in again after our veteran wheelchair ramp builder retired. Bob and Estelle packed up their tool box and started to plan, purchase materials and supervise teams of rookie ramp builders—many in this room tonight. And like their other projects, Bob’s scope of work grew as he added other chores to his “honey-do” list. So far the group has built two ramps, and looks forward to their next project.
Passionate about living out Christ’s call to justice and compassion, they are active in the Holy Rosary Catholic Church’s pro-life ministries—literally from the womb to the tomb—attending death penalty prayer vigils and cooking meals for the pregnant women at Sanctuary for Life.
Bob and Estelle’s lead a life of quiet service--using their hands, down-to-earth know how, patience, compassion and love of power tools to answer Christ’s call to care for “the least of these.” Ask any of the people they’ve helped or worked alongside—they’ll tell you “their lives are richer because of the Babins.”
Gene Domingue Co-worker of the Year—CJ Roy
The Gene Domingue Co-worker of the Year award recognizes a Catholic Charities staff member who demonstrates superior performance and embodies the goals and values of the agency. The honoree is chosen from nominations from the CCDBR staff, and the final winner is selected by honorees from past years. Tonight we honor a hard-working, dedicated and multi-talented individual. Often his first response to a problem that’s presented to him is “what can I do?” Our question is “What can’t he do?”
This person said “What can I do?” just a few days after Hurricane Katrina. He walked past the hundred or so people lined up outside of our office, into the overflowing lobby, and asked “what can I do.” Tonight’s honoree CJ Roy has been here ever since.
Early on, he would start his day counting off the number of clients we could see in a day. He then had the unfortunate job of having to tell the people at the end of the line to come back tomorrow. Today, he answers the hundreds of phone calls we get every week from people requesting help with rent and utilities.
But CJ’s can-do attitude stretches across the entire agency. In a recent survey, staff was asked questions like “What would you do if certain situations happen. “ The most frequent answer was “Ask CJ!” We can count on CJ to help plan a party. Also you can thank him for the clean chairs you’re sitting on tonight—he came in on last weeks’ Catholic Holiday to oversee the cleaning crew. He was instrumental in developing and overseeing the new onboarding process for new staff. Last year he chaired the Green Team, the agency’s staff committee.
His quick wit and corny jokes amuse us. But his kind heart, ready smile and helpful attitude is why CJ Roy was selected as this year’s Gene Domingue Employee of the Year.
Social Conscience Award--Fr. Jerry Martin and the St. Patrick Knights of Columbus 8601
Started in 2012, the Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge Social Conscience Award recognizes an individual or group who exemplifies a commitment of service, who by deeds and words provides us and our community a reminder that we have a responsibility to serve our clients with dignity, treat each other with grace, and thereby live our Gospel Mission and improve our community.
For years, the Knights of Columbus of St. Patrick Catholic Church have consistently demonstrated their commitment to serving our most vulnerable clients, pregnant mothers and their unborn babies who are all but abandoned by their families and friends. Recently the Knights helped make essential repairs at the Sanctuary for Life that improved the safety of the facility and helped renovate apartments to expand capacity. Whether it’s donating time, labor, materials or funds, dozens of children in our community were given healthy and caring starts to their lives because of the love and generosity of the St. Patrick Knights.
Fr. Jerry Martin shows his commitment to community and participation by his style of pastoral leadership. He knows that Church doesn’t belong to the religious and is admired for his deliberate and intentional method of building depth and participation among lay leaders. His parish is strong and active because he encourages the natural exuberance of parishioners to express itself in areas they are passionate about.
Fr. Jerry has been characterized as “courageous and compassionate.” He understands that Church extends beyond the walls of a building and fervently advocated on behalf of the disabled for an improved transit system in our community. When Fr. Jerry talks to you, even in a room of crowded people, you have his total attention. He values each moment of every interaction with each individual, and he always ends a conversation: “Just let me know what else I can do