Citizens Emergency Response Team and Plaquemines Parish Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association are mourning the loss of their founding father. Lt. Allen Joseph Sanchez, with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office, gave a brave fight to the finish against the cancer that ultimately took his life.
He worked first with the Neighborhood Watch Program and after seeing a need for more community involvement, he learned of the Citizens Police Academy and CERT and decided these would be great for the parish. He spoke to the sheriff and things started coming together. He is the one who applied for a federal grant to pay for the programs and went to classes to be certified to teach them.
Thanks to Sanchez, the two groups of volunteers are available to help out in emergencies as well as at parish functions. They do things such as direct traffic and police the grounds for festivals, serve food at the District Attorney’s Senior Citizen Day and help during and after storms with evacuations and shelters.
Our hearts go out to his wife, Bernadette Sanchez, and all of his family. Allen, you will be greatly missed; thanks for all the lives you touched and everything you did for the parish.
Sheriff Lonnie Greco addressed CERT at their monthly meeting and introduced some of his staff he appointed. Staff members present were: Chief Brian Boudreaux, George King, Terry Rutherford, Curtis Bowers, Ty Wilkes, Monica Nicosia and Terry Sercovich. He said, “I told the staff, ‘We will always be professional and courteous. Do your job no matter who it is.’”
Danielle Comeaux and Doug Gross showed a film to train CERT members who want to be a part of Medical Reserve Corps, and a test was given at the end. MRC is comprised of people who belong to CERT who work with the medical end of evacuations and disasters. Some are medical personnel but a lot are people who help out by doing non-medical jobs such as paperwork and passing out pamphlets.
Comeaux reminded the members, “If we aren’t prepared ourselves for hurricanes, how can we convince others to prepare.” Everyone should have or at least be getting together an emergency kit to fit their family’s needs. Please make arrangements for your pets; don’t leave them behind.
Boy Scout Troop 106, in conjunction with the Marines, Navy, Knights of Columbus Council 6357 and the Rev. Billy O’Riordan dedicated a new flag and flagpole located at the main entrance to the cemetery at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Belle Chasse the weekend of Memorial Day.
Members of the honor guard presented the colors and handed them to Boy Scouts who hoisted them up the flagpole. MU1 David Tulloch with the New Orleans Navy Band played “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the trumpet while everyone stood at attention and sang. The Scouts then hoisted the flag and O’Riordan blessed the flag and thanked those who have served and who are currently serving, and in a special way, the ones who have given their lives for our freedom. He also introduced the oldest veteran present, Leonard Klock, who served in World War II.
Thanks to all who made the flag dedication possible and especially thanks to all who have served and who have given up everything for us.
Patty Mattison is a Belle Chasse resident who writes about people and events in the community. To reach her, call 504.392.0958 or send email to email@example.com.