Kiwanis selects Donna Carville as Plaquemine Citizen of the Year

Candance Edwards
CITIZEN OF YEAR...Plaquemine Kiwanis Club’s Citizen of the Year Donna Carville is shown here with her family during the Thanksgiving holidays:(left to right on sofa) Josh Cooper, Kelley C. Cooper and Riley Cooper; Donna and Dr. Charlie Carville, DVM; (sitting on floor) Dr. Katie C. Berthelot DVM, Jonathan, Luke and Ty Berthelot;(behind sofa) Wimbreth and Blake Carville, Anna Colleen Blackwood, CPT Ryan Carville (U.S. Air Force).

(Editor’s Note: Donna Carville was selected at the recent Kiwanis Prayer Breakfast as the club’s Citizen of the Year. Former fellow employee and friend Fran Comeaux compiled the following information on Donna and it was read at her introduction at the recent event. She is one of the most active community workers in the City of Plaquemine as you will find out by reading the following article.)

Donna Carville was born and raised in Plaquemine.  She married a hometown boy and raised her family here. 

After graduating from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry, she attended Kansas State University and Auburn University for post-graduate studies in chemistry and chemical engineering and received an MBA from Louisiana State University in 1996.

She joined Dow Chemical’s Plaquemine plant location in 1979 as a Research Chemist she held a variety of roles throughout Louisiana Operations. In 1995, she was named Leader of Responsible Care at Louisiana Operations at the very beginning of its program. After becoming the North America Logistics Regulatory and Safety Manager, she moved into Public and Governmental Affairs in 1998. This is the role where her talents shined the most.

She led a team of professionals dedicated to sustaining Dow’s reputation through active involvement with employees, contractors, state and local stakeholders. In 2007, Donna became solely dedicated to Governmental Affairs, where she led public policy efforts in Louisiana and coordinated with Dow’s other state, federal and international efforts.

During her career, Donna has taken part in numerous strategic initiatives and been actively involved in many trade/business associations and social services. She has been a member of numerous boards, including, the State Economic Development Council, LABI, LCA, LAMP, Iberville Chamber of Commerce, Greater Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, LMOGA, LAMP,  Capital Area United Way Board, CABL, , …Just to name a few.

She has been the recipient of many prestigious awards at Dow, as well as in the community, including the YWCA Woman of Achievement, Athena Award, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award, Governor’s Environmental Leadership of the Year; and most recently the Pride of West Baton Rouge Award from the WBR Chamber of Commerce in March of 2009; and the Myron Falk Award from the YMCA in May of 2009.

Carville was instrumental in gathering funds for the Dow Westside YMCA.  Along with securing Dow’s contribution, she worked many hours on her own time to make this a reality.  Many early mornings you will find her there exercising, after attending daily mass.

The organization probably dearest to her heart is Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge.  Twenty-nine homes have been build on the West side with twenty-one of them right here in Plaquemine.  She has worked very hard to secure land, permits, volunteers, meals, and supplies to give these families a chance to own a new home.  You will never get her to accept the credit for all of this, but we know she has been the driving force. 

She was always the first at the site with coffee and the last to leave, locking the door.  Rain, mud, nor hurricanes would stop her from building the homes. And you know how hard it is to tell her “no”! She always had a dream that the St. John the Evangelist Church and First Baptist Church would build a home. Well they did and then they built another one.  She always can make things happen.

Now that she has retired her days are still very busy.  She is still assisting with Dow Governmental Affairs as needed, but has added new projects to her day.  

At St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church she has been a Eucharistic Minister, and Liturgical reader for many years, and is a member of the Catholic Daughters, working on numerous projects.  Since retirement she has been facilitating a Bible study. It started as a group of 30 and now has become over 100 strong.  She also is an eighth grade religion teacher, and works on prayer quilts for the sick.

Still she has found more time with her four grown children, and their families, especially her two grandsons, and one granddaughter. The family is waiting for one more member to come along early next year.

She also can be found enjoying a favorite pastime of landscaping yards for family members as well as giving more time to her elders.

Upon her retirement, Louisiana Operations Site Leader Sharon Cole said: "For the past thirty years, she has dedicated her life to the chemistry and reputation of The Dow Chemical Company. At every rung of the ladder, she gained the respect of her colleagues and earned the reputation as a person committed to the highest values and virtues. Her experience, energy and leadership will be greatly missed at Dow.”