Lafourche Parish Sheriffs Office employees and outstanding citizens were recognized for their teamwork, dedication and heroic actions this past weekend at the 19th Annual Lafourche Pride Banquet and Awards Program held Saturday, November 10 at the Vacherie-Gheens Community Center. The Lafourche Deputies Association sponsors this annual event with the financial help and support of member deputies and many local businesses. Sheriff Craig Webre utilizes this annual event to publicly honor individuals who over the past year have saved a life, captured a dangerous felon, risked their own personal safety for others, or performed their job in law enforcement in a distinguished or commendable manner.
Each year, Sheriff Webre presents the Sheriffs Star to one outstanding employee. This years recipient was Captain Jeremy Granier. Captain Granier currently serves as Director of the Lafourche Regional Training Academy, a post he has held since 2007. He leads a training staff that prepares officers and deputies for duty from all around the Southeast Louisiana region. He is also Director of Disaster Preparedness and Homeland Security and has helped lead the Sheriffs Office through major disasters and emergencies. He also works as a grant write for LPSO and has worked diligently to help acquire grants to help fund the purchases of our Mobile Command Vehicle and a new generator coming soon to our Criminal Operations Center in Lockport. He has also taken a lead role in the development of the new Law Enforcement Complex in Thibodaux and was instrumental in acquiring the $1 million for the first phase of construction. He is also currently overseeing the improvements to our Range Facility. He came to LPSO after serving our country for nearly a decade. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1992 and spent part of his time as a Navy Hospital Corpsman (Combat Medic) with the U.S. Marine Corps Infantry before being honorably discharged from the Navy in 2002. He began his LPSO career as a deputy in Water Patrol.
MEDAL OF VALOR
Thirteen-year-old Indeja Fulwiley was presented a Medal of Valor for the actions she took during an armed robbery in June. That night, a man had just arrived at his home when he was approached by three men dressed in black clothing with masks and armed with handguns demanding his money. After the man gave them his wallet and keys, they forced him inside his residence where Indeja and her two younger brothers were. One of the masked men forced Indeja onto the floor and held her at gunpoint, threatening to kill her. When he momentarily turned his attention to the other men, Indeja bravely got up, ran toward her younger brothers, brought them to a bedroom, and locked the door. After ensuring her brothers were out of harms way, she kicked out the bedroom window and ran to a neighbors house to call for help. Deputies arrived on scene to find Indejas younger brothers safe and sound just where she had left them, and because of Indejas help were able to locate the men later that night.
Sgt. Trent Duplantis received two Lifesaving Awards on the night for two separate incidents. In the first, he and Lt. John Champagne were recognized for saving the life of a man that had driven off U.S. Highway 90 into the swampland. Both deputies rescued the man and brought him safely back to dry land. In the other incident, Sgt. Duplantis was the first to respond to an emergency where a man had fallen through a glass cabinet and was bleeding severely. Sgt. Duplantis held pressure inside the wound to the severed artery, even accompanying EMTs in the ambulance and all the way into the emergency room. Lt. Danny Toups and Deputy Clay Blanchard also received Certificates of Commendation for their efforts in the incident.
Lafourche Parish Fire District #3 Volunteer Firemen Lionel Guidry and Brock Bennett were recognized for saving the life of a Tennessee man who had driven into the Intracoastal Canal in Larose. The two firemen pulled the man from the canal, and the man admitted he would have surely drowned had they not assisted.
Deputy Clerk of Court Sharon Walker was recognized for performing the Heimlich maneuver on a child who was choking on a paper clip in an incident this past April at the Clerk of Court’s office in Thibodaux. Lt. Craig Melancon, Sgt. Brandon France, Deputy Jeff Bordelon and Nurse Andrell Jones received Lifesaving Awards for saving the life of an inmate at the Lafourche Parish Detention Center last November. Additionally, Deputies Brent Chiasson, Anthony Stelly and Blake Vining were recognized for their efforts that saved the life of a man that had tried to hang himself in his home in August. Also receiving Lifesaving Awards were Deputy Richard Reidel and Louisiana State Trooper Donnie Callais.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARDS
Distinguished Service Awards were presented to Sgt. Yvonne Ordoyne, Sgt. David Robichaux, Reserve Deputy Roland Berthelot and Bridgette deGravelles. Sgt. Ordoyne has served for 11 years and was recognized for her active participation in the Special Olympics Torch Run and Relay for Life as well as her efforts in audits and the re-accreditation process. Sgt. Robichaux has worked for at the Training Academy for the past 8 years helping train hundreds of cadets as a certified firearms instructor known for his expertise in safe weapons handling. Deputy Berthelot was recognized for his 148 hours of service over the past year, including 250 hours since January of 2011. DeGravelles was rewarded for her efforts and strides she has taken in the Evidence Section as Evidence Custodian.
CERTIFICATES OF COMMENDATION
Several individual LPSO deputies were recognized with Certificates of Commendation based on work during incidents throughout the past year. Deputy Paul James, in fact, received two commendations for his work in helping solve a camp burglary as well as an incident where he showed special attention to a very weak man during Hurricane Isaac.
Several deputies were recognized for their efforts dealing with individuals contemplating suicide including Deputies Doug Duet, Candice Reilman and Marissa Adams. Detective John Dillmann was recognized for his work that helped lead to arrests in the cold cases of the murders of Enola Boudreaux and Bruce Williams. Deputy Mike Collason was also recognized for his efforts on patrol in the past year.
Sgt. Andrew Eagan, Deputy Dylan Cortez, Deputy Chastity Thompson, Detective Ben Dempster and Narcotics Agent Justin Leonard were recognized for their work on a pharmacy burglary in July that led to an arrest the same night the crime took place. Deputies Joseph Anderson, Robin Naquin and Clay Blanchard received commendations for their efforts in assisting the Thibodaux Police Department in helping to solve the arson case involving the Western Sizzlin’ restaurant in late May. Deputy Robin Naquin received a second commendation as part of a group that responded to a shooting incident in Thibodaux in November of 2011. Along with Naquin, Deputy Haley Burkett, K-9 Deputy Paul Finn and Reserve Lt. Columbus Kennedy received Certificates of Commendation for their efforts in the incident.
Several deputies from multiple agencies and LPSO divisions were recognized for their efforts in helping to take down a mid-level drug dealer in August. Certificates of Commendation were awarded to Deputy Mike Collason and K-9 Deputy Paul Finn as well as several agents from the Lafourche Parish Drug Task Force, including agents from LPSO and the Thibodaux Police Department.
Members of the multi-agency Meth Lab Response Team were commended for their efforts in helping to process “meth labs” since taking over the responsibilities from the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2010.
The entire Corrections Department received a Unit Commendation as several employees of the Lafourche Parish Detention Center and the Transitional Work Program were recognized for their efforts during Hurricane Isaac. Unit Commendations were awarded to the deputies of “B-Shift” from the Patrol Division, employees of the LPSO Records Section, and the Animal Control Section.
LPSO retirees Wayne Garner, Lana Pennison, John Sutton, Van Kurt Chouest, and Janet Chiasson were honored for their many years of dedication and service. Garner came to LPSO in the year 2000 after 26 years with the Louisiana State Police. He retired in October after serving for 39 dedicated years in law enforcement. Pennison served for nearly 31 years before retiring in July. She began working in 1981 as a Fines Clerk and later became Purchasing Agent. Sutton served LPSO for 18 years as a Correctional Officer, Patrol Deputy and most recently served as Range Master at the LPSO Shooting Range. Chouest began working at the Sheriff’s Office in 2000 after 24 years in the private sector. He spent time at the Transitional Work Program and at the South Lafourche Sub-station before retiring in February, but he will continue serving as a reserve deputy. Chiasson worked as a Deputy Clerk for Thibodaux City Court for 22 years before joining the Sheriff’s Office in 2000. She will officially retire in December.
Connie Uzee, Asset Protection Manager for the Walmart Corporation., was recognized with a Humanitarian Award for always going above and beyond when any need arises. Connie works out of the Mathews location. Over the years, Walmart has helped the Sheriff’s Office and the Community as a whole with merchandise and financial donations that have helped many in need. Connie seems to always find some way to help out in every situation. During hurricanes or storm events is where Connie has helped the most, making herself available day and night to provide the Sheriff’s Office with whatever we need. Even when Walmart was closed, Connie opened the store for us to gather whatever we needed to operate. While Walmart affords Connie the opportunity to do many of these good deeds, it is her caring spirit to do “whatever it takes” to help others that makes her such a special person.