Bart Baudoin named ‘Citizen of the Year’
Bart Baudoin (right) accepts his ‘Citizen of the Year Award’ from Kaplan Chamber President Fran Fullerton (center). Wendy Smith, (right) read the nomination letter from the KYAA Board of Directors.
Larry Hebert accepts the Business of the Year Award for Larry’s Super Foods from President Fran Fullerton.
Kaplan Fire Department were named Volunteers of the Year (l-r) Dillon Roussel, Travis Roussel, Chamber President Fran Fullerton, Councilwoman Melissa Guidry (who read the nomination letter), Kaplan Fire Chief Jacob Mathiew, Joe Appling, Blake Frith, Cory Frith and Brent Frith.
Kaplan Area Chamber members honored Bart Baudoin as the ‘Citizen of the Year’, Larry’s Super Food as the ‘Business of the Year’ and the Kaplan Fire Department as the ‘Volunteers of the Year’ at their annual banquet held at the American last Wednesday.
During his acceptance speech, Baudoin was too emotional to speak, but managed to say he was astonished he had received the honor. Later, he was able to express his gratitude on his social media page.
“Unbelievably humbling experience tonight,” said Baudoin. “Never have I been so lost for words. I wanted to say so much, but couldn’t.
“For those of you who know me, know that I do not like being the center of attention. I do not like awards and I do not like the recognition, but tonight was so humbling. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Nominated by the Kaplan Youth Athletic Association Board of Directors, following is an excerpt from the nominaion letter.
“Bart is a rare and exceptional individual and you will find only a handful in our community like him. He gives selflessly of his time to so many. He never asks for acknowledgement or glory. His satisfaction comes from seeing so many enjoy his efforts.”
Larry Hebert, owner of Larry’s Super Foods, accepted the ‘Business of the Year’.
Upon accepting the plaque, Hebert stated humbly accepted the award, but “know that this recognition belongs to all the associates who helped me build the business. They are the glue that binds us together.”
Nominated by long time employee Margaret Ditch, her letter reads:
Larry’s has employed may people in the community over the past 35 years and has given countless donations throughout the years. Larry’s donated and delivered food to the needy during holiday or given gift cards to people struggling through illnesses to help make it through tough times. He has donated to churches, raffles, benefits, schools, fire departments, police departments, city hall, Project Graduation and youth sports recreational sports. Mr. Larry took care of his employees with groceries or financial help till they were able to return to work.
The ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award went to the Kaplan Fire Department. Accepting the award was Kaplan Fire Chief Jacob Mathiew.
During his acceptance speech, Mathiew credited his fellow fireman for being able to successfully help the community in their time of need.
“2016 was a rollercoaster of a year for me and the guys,” said Mathiew, “but we survived. 2016 has brought us closer as a team and a family. I’m honored to be a part of this group. Thanks to everyone for all the support that is always shown to the fire department, thank you to the Kaplan Chamber for this award, and thank you to the families who support our guys day and night.
“We work as a team,” said Mathiew, “we will accept this award as a team. All of you come up and stand with me.”
Nominated by Mayor Kirk Champagne, his letter stated:
This year has been an extraordinary year. Chief Mathiews and his department was asked to fill sandbags for the nursing home which later became a rescue mission. This group of men and women came out in their personal vehicles and rescued over 150 people.
On another morning, the department received a call that the city’s main gas line ruptured. They evacuated and secured the perimeter. I requested that he have his department turn off every gas meter on our system (approximately 2,500 meters). Without question, these guys got it done in a little over eight hours...all this without pay. They dealt with six fatalities, the hardest being the two children in the fire. The thing that hits home the most is that during the flood those babies were rescued by the same men who pulled their little bodies out of the fire rubble.
And the next call will come, and without hesittion, these guys will jump out of their warm, dry beds and fight to keep us safe.
The 2017 Kaplan Area Chamber of Commerce officers will be Mike Kloesel, president; McCall Baudoin, first vice-president; and Fran Fullerton, past president.
Board members include Jill Broussard, McCall Baudoin, Dr. Jack Gupta, Christine Constantin, Cathy Cormier, Taylor Primeaux and Shari Hebert.