Sheriff says generosity of sponsors makes the giving possible
Sheriff Brett Stassi says that while he and his deputies get much of the credit for the Sheriff’s Office’s holiday giveaways, it’s the couple of dozen generous donors that should get the lion’s share of the credit.
“I really want to thank those sponsors because without them, it wouldn’t be possible for us to give toys to children and gifts for the elderly at Christmas,” Stassi said. “The deputies and I get our reward from the good feeling it gives us in our hearts.”
The Christmas giveaway included 85 families and 215 children, from infants to 12-year-olds.
The sheriff said this holiday season marks the seventh year for the Christmas toy giveaway, a tradition he started during his first year in office.
“The kids are unbelievably excited about getting the toys,” Stassi said, which include balls for all of the children of families struggling financially and bicycles for some.
Many of the families are selected by ministers in the parish, the sheriff said, but others are chosen by his medical transportation employees who know firsthand families who have fallen on hard times.
“One of the most important parts of what we do is giving bags of toys to parents and grandparents who might not be able to afford to give their own children the Christmas they’d like to be able to,” Stassi said.
He said he believes it helps to restore self esteem to those adults.
“It’s different than the Sheriff’s Office or the sheriff giving out those toys that end up under Christmas trees all over the parish,” Stassi said. “It helps to bring some dignity to those families who have fallen on hard times.”
“We know for a fact that these people are suffering so I’m proud to say that some of the neediest people get helped by the compassion of the deputies of the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office,” he continued, made possible by the generosity of many individuals and companies in the parish.
And it’s not just the children in the parish the Sheriff’s Office tries to bring the spirit of Christmas to, but the elderly as well.
“It’s always a great feeling to go to the nursing homes, where we bring each resident a gift,” Stassi said. He said they also sing carols to most of the residents, those who are mobile, in the homes’ dining rooms, accompanied by members of a local Girl Scout troop.
“It’s tough to have elderly family members in a nursing home, but I think it helps for us to bring some Christmas spirit to them,” the sheriff said, continuing by saying the carolers make their way down the halls of the nursing homes to sing to those who are unable to join the group, sometimes by requests.
“Being active in the community is a big part of law enforcement,” Stassi said. “Our relationship with the young people and the other citizens of Iberville Parish is key to giving the public a positive image of the Sheriff’s Office.”
“We need the public’s help so it’s important for us to have a good relationship with them,” he continued, because the people who live in the communities in the parish know when someone is out of place and possibly up to no good.
“They know when someone is in their neighborhood that shouldn’t be there,” Stassi said. “They are our eyes and ears. The public is a big part of keeping Iberville Parish the safe place that it is.”
Donors and sponsors who make the Sheriff’s Office’s holiday giving possible are Shintech, We Are the Diffference, Peacock Communications, M&P Barge Company, Plaquemine Truck Stop and Travel Center, state Sen. Rick Ward, the Grosse Tete-Rosedale Lions Club;
Danny’s Cajun Catering, SNF Flopam, Allstate Insurance’s Daniel Durand, Judge Elizabeth Engolio of the 18th Judicial District, Bayou Road Lumber and Hardware, Iberville Glass, D’Albor’s Home Furnishings, Wilbert Funeral Home, Amber and Chad Blanchard, the Iberville Chamber of Commerce;
Richard Oil and Fuel, St. Louis Planting, Edward Gay Manufacturing, Viallon Drug Store, Barry Marionneaux, Texas Brine, Relax Inn, Plant Security, Daigle’s Grocery, Blazing Star Lodge No. 212, Dow Chemical Company, Acacia Lodge No. 116 F&M, Michael and Mary Johnson;
State Rep. Chad Brown, Comeaux Brothers Construction, Judge Alvin Batiste of the 18th Judicial District, Nancy Brown, the Knights of Columbus and employees of the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office.