CFA's 2015 Leaders in Philanthropy award recipients. Photo by Kelly Morvant Photography.
Community Foundation of Acadiana’s (CFA) fifth-annual Leaders in Philanthropy Awards Luncheon was held on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at the Cajundome Convention Center. The event celebrated outstanding philanthropists from eight parishes across Acadiana who have made a positive impact in their communities, as well as two outstanding corporations. Please click here to see the award recipients.
Event attendees also heard a keynote address provided by Jim Parker, former CEO of Southwest Airlines and author of "Do The Right Thing: How Dedicated Employees Create Loyal Customers and Large Profits." Please click here to read more about Jim Parker.
Charlotte and Joe Freeland have been selected to receive the 2015 Leaders in Philanthropy Award for the positive impact they have made in Acadia Parish.
Joe helped establish the Community Outreach Corporation (COC), an organization dedicated to serving the less fortunate in Acadia Parish. COC’s first objective was the Welcome House, for which Joe served as project chairman. Although the initial goal was to improve living conditions in the run-down buildings, trailers and existing shelter, it evolved into a complete rebuilding project. Under Joe’s leadership, COC donations included $800,000 in cash, $400,000 in in-kind services, and 30,000 volunteer hours. Today, Welcome House is a Christian-based 65-bed facility that houses single men, single women and families in separate living areas. Each month 80-90 people use the shelter and about 5,000 meals are served.
Joe served on the board of Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO) for six years, with two years as chairman.He served on the founding board for the Episcopal School of Acadiana, including a term as chairman. He is a former member and president of the Rotary Club of Lafayette.After moving to Acadia Parish in 1998, he joined First United Methodist Church and the Crowley Rotary Club and served on numerous committees for both organizations.
Charlotte was a member of Avec Souci, a community improvement group in Lafayette, and participated in the Feed My Sheep program that provided food to struggling families that did not otherwise qualify for federal programs. She is a former member and board member of the Lafayette Symphony Women’s League, the group responsible for bringing the symphony to Lafayette. She now serves on the board of directors of the Grand Opera House of the South and was chairman of the program committee. She is also a member of First United Methodist Church and serves on various service committees.
Charlotte and Joe work diligently to address issues involving education, the arts, hunger and the homeless. They have been married for over 50 years and have two children and four grandchildren.
Kermit and Sheila Miller Evangeline Parish
Kermit and Sheila Miller have been selected to receive the 2015 Leaders in Philanthropy Award for generously donating their time, energy and resources to the betterment of Evangeline Parish.
Kermit and Sheila are the owners of Jack Miller’s Bar-B-Que Sauce, founded in 1955 by Kermit’s father, Jack D. Miller. The pair is active in the business community, including the Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce. Kermit is a past-president of the Chamber.
Kermit is an active member of the local Rotary Club, and has served as president and board member. He has also been honored by the organization as a Paul Harris Fellow for his contributions to the Rotary Foundation. During his tenure on the board, Kermit manned the Rotary booth at the annual American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event in Ville Platte. Sheila has also been a Relay for Life volunteer, and they remain active contributors.
They are also proud supporters of the Cotton Festival and the Smoked Meat Festival in Ville Platte. They have hosted both the Tea and the King’s Breakfast for the Cotton Festival, as well as donated products for giveaways. For 23 years, they helped coordinate the cooking contest at the Smoked Meat Festival. They also volunteered as judges for 4-H cooking contests, and have sponsored many 4-H events.
Kermit and Sheila are active members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Sheila serves as a Eucharistic minister and also volunteers with the children’s liturgy, and Kermit serves as a lector. Sheila led prayer services at local nursing homes and is an active member of the Come, Lord Jesus program, volunteering as the leader of a group.
In 2004, Governor Kathleen Blanco awarded Jack Miller’s Bar-B-Que the prestigious Lantern Award for exemplifying the best in community awareness and involvement. Kermit was also inducted into the Acadian Museum of Erath’s Legends Hall of Fame in 2010. Kermit has received the Man of the Year award, and Sheila the Woman of the Year award for the city of Ville Platte. Kermit was also named Business Person of the Year for the City of Ville Platte.
Both natives of Ville Platte, Sheila graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1965, and Kermit from Ville Platte High School in 1964. The Millers have been married for 48 years, and have three children and eight grandchildren.
Johnny and Cathy Indest Iberia Parish
Johnny and Cathy Indest have been selected to receive the 2015 Leaders in Philanthropy Award for their many contributions to the betterment of Iberia Parish.
Johnny was involved in the home care industry for 30 years. For 12 years, he served as president and chief operations officer at LHC Group where he continues to serve on this publically traded company’s board of directors. Since retiring, he has dedicated himself to caring for the less fortunate of Iberia Parish. He is a volunteer and board member of the Disch-DeClouet Social Service Center, a non-profit organization serving the poor and needy of Iberia parish. He is the chair of Food Net of Iberia’s annual campaign and serves on Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center board of directors, currently serving as Chairman of the Board.
Cathy has focused her philanthropy largely around cultural enhancement in Iberia Parish. She was instrumental in reactivating the Iberia Parish Cultural Resources Association and has served as the group’s president since 2006. She is a board member of the Iberia Preservation Alliance and the Bayou Teche Museum, where she serves as chair of the fundraising committee and the capital campaign committee for the Doc Voorhies wing of the museum. Cathy is a dedicated supporter of the events and programs associated with New Iberia’s Shadows-on-the-Teche, Iberia Performing Arts League and the Main Street Program.
The couple served as youth ministers for St. Peter’s Catholic Church for 19 years. Johnny also led the contemporary youth choir at the church for 27 years. Johnny and Cathy are long-time supporters of Catholic High School and St. Edward’s Catholic School in Iberia Parish.
Johnny and Cathy are natives of Iberia Parish and graduates of Catholic High and Mount Carmel Academy respectively. They both graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Johnny also has a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration from the University of St. Francis.
The couple has been married for 41 years, and has been blessed with three children, seven grandchildren, and 1 grandchild to be born in December.
Paul Hilliard Lafayette Parish
Clayton Paul Hilliard has been selected to receive the 2015 Leaders in Philanthropy Award for his leadership, dedication and commitment to improving Lafayette Parish.
Born in Sandburr Coulee, Wisconsin, Paul served in the Marine Corps for three years as a radioman-gunner in Douglas SBD "Dauntless" dive bombers in the Solomon and Philippine Islands during 1944-45.He received his Bachelor of Law from the University of Texas in 1951 and in 1954, moved to Louisiana and founded Badger Oil Corporation, an independent oil and gas producer.
He has been a member of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) since 1968 and served as national chairman from 1989-1991.He has been an active member of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA) since 1979, serving as president from 198-81.
In addition to his efforts as businessman and leader in the Louisiana energy industry, Paul has been an active contributor to numerous non-profit organizations, where he concentrates his support on behalf of education endeavors, which include K-12 education, higher education and history museums. Notably, he is the former president of Lafayette Catholic Service Centers, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans – where he is a long-time member of the Executive Committee. He has also chaired both the Education and the Collections Committees of this expanding institution.
On the K-12 front, Paul established the Badger Excellence in Education Foundation with the mission to improve reading and education in local schools. In addition, the Foundation funds the building of classroom libraries and providing lunches for teachers in schools in economically depressed areas.
Paul Hilliard has received numerous honors for his philanthropic and business initiatives, including the "LAGCOE LOOEY" award in 2007. Paul and his late wife, Lulu, provided $5 million to establish the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum at ULL.He is a 2013 Louisiana Legends Honoree, and has also been recognized by the Planned Giving Council of Acadiana for his many contributions to charitable organizations.He is a past recipient of the Lafayette Civic Cup as well as the national Horatio Alger Award.
He is married to the former Madlyn Ackal Boustany.
Pat and Alice Morrow St. Landry Parish
Pat and Alice Morrow have been selected to receive the 2015 Leaders in Philanthropy Award for their many contributions to St. Landry Parish.
Pat and Alice are deeply committed to the growth and preservation of St. Landry Parish. Pat’s law firm, Morrow, Morrow, Ryan and Basset, provides annual scholarships for area students, and encourages the applicants to pursue degrees in their chosen fields of study. The Morrow family also established the J. Michael Morrow Memorial Scholarship at the LSU Law Center. Pat was also instrumental in the establishment of the L’Ecreivisse Scholarship at the LSU Law Center, which gives preference to applicants from Acadiana’s crawfish-producing parishes.
Pat is currently a board member of Vision St. Landry and Hospital Service District No. 2 in St. Landry Parish. He serves on the Board of Trustees at Opelousas General Health System and as board chair for the J. Michael Morrow Memorial Nursing Home. He previously served as a commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Alice is a former special education teacher with the St. Landry Parish Public School System. She served on the board of the New Life Women’s and Children’s Center in Opelousas, where she also volunteered as a tutor. She is the author of a food blog, Geaux Ask Alice, which focuses on the importance of family meals and maintaining family traditions. She advocates simple meal prep to allow everyone more time to spend with family and friends. Alice often dedicates her time and talents to charitable events by offering a five-star meal as an auction item.
The Morrows are contributors to many private and public schools, as well as many charitable events in the parish. Their pride and love for the area is the driving force that keeps them active in benefiting the community.
Pat and Alice have been married for 48 years, and have three children and nine grandchildren.
David Buck St. Martin Parish
David Buck has been selected to receive the 2015 Leaders in Philanthropy Award for St. Martin Parish for the great impact he has made in the community.
In 1970, David moved from New Orleans to Lafayette, where he founded Superior Manufacturing and Hydraulics with business partner Charles Duhe. During his tenure as owner and president of Superior, David became an innovator in his field and acquired 26 patents on equipment he designed. While at Superior, David sought opportunities to give back to the community that supported him so generously. He created a program that matches employee-donated time with company funds to benefit local churches and families in need during the holidays.
David moved to St. Martin Parish in 1989. There, he continued his philanthropy through a special program he and his wife, Brenda, created through the Council on Aging to help feed the elderly in St. Martin Parish on Thanksgiving Day. The Council provides the names of elderly or homebound individuals for whom David and his wife Brenda, along with a team of volunteers, prepare and deliver meals. This program has grown substantially from serving 165 people in 2000 (its inaugural year) to serving 500 in 2014. Feeding those in need makes Thanksgiving David and Brenda’s favorite day of the year.
David and his daughter, Heather, own a commercial and residential management company in Breaux Bridge that purchases and restores buildings to help promote business and economic development in St. Martin Parish. Their most recent project was the old Domingues Motor Company building, which now houses a 17,000 square foot antique mall, the Glass Room events venue and Buck and Johnny's restaurant, which David co-owns. David has served on the board of the Breaux Bridge Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission in Breaux Bridge.
David and Brenda have a combined six children, in addition to grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Slyvia and Fulton C. "Butch" Felterman, Jr. St. Mary Parish
Sylvia and Fulton C. "Butch” Felterman, Jr., have been selected to receive the 2015 Leaders in Philanthropy Award for their many outstanding contributions to St. Mary Parish.
Butch purchased his first deep water shrimp trawler at the age of 20, and went on to own several successful oilfield marine companies, most notably Galaxie Marine Service, Inc. That success has afforded Butch and Sylvia the ability to give back to their community through a variety of charitable endeavors.
In 1990, Butch and Sylvia created The Felterman Foundation, a private foundation that donates to countless organizations each year including police and fire departments, churches and non-profit organizations. Through the foundation, they have also established an annual four-year college scholarship program for outstanding graduates from Patterson, La.
Butch was instrumental in the creation, development and construction of the Wedell-Williams Memorial Aviation Museum, serving as foundation chairman from 1975-1991. Butch and his brother Ernest provided funding for a full-size replica of the Wedell-Williams #92 racer airplane for the museum, and Butch and Sylvia established the David J. Felterman Theater, located inside the museum. Butch now serves as treasurer and board member of the Wedell-Williams Aviation and Cypress Sawmill Foundation, spearheading fundraisers and annual membership drives.
Butch and Sylvia's passion to preserve St. Mary Parish’s rich history extends to their restoration of "The Old Warehouse," the oldest commercial building in Patterson. It houses generations of relics and antiques as a testament to Butch and Sylvia's enthusiasm for safeguarding the history of their community. Another is "Fishermen's Light," a full-size lighthouse replica built by Butch and Sylvia as a place to preserve the legacy and artifacts of the hard-working fishermen of the shrimping industry in Patterson. The pair also commissioned and financed a large mural of Patterson education pioneer Hattie A. Watts inside the elementary school named for her.
Butch and Sylvia are long-time members and supporters of St. Joseph Catholic Church. They remain leaders, contributors, innovators, volunteers and ambassadors for their community and continue to donate regularly, with an instinctive ability to know how, where and when to help.
They have been married for 66 years, and have six children, eleven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.
Patrick "Pat” Patout and Paul Patout have been selected to receive the 2015 Leaders in Philanthropy Award for their dedication and contributions to Vermilion Parish.
Pat and Paul lead Gulf Coast Bank; Paul as CEO and president, and Pat as chairman of the board.
Paul is a board member with the South Louisiana Community College Foundation and the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation. He is a member of Leadership Vermilion, and serves on the audit committee of Community Foundation of Acadiana. Paul previously served as a board member of the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce, financial chairman for the Boy Scouts of America Evangeline Area Council and member of the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce tourism division.
Pat is currently the chairman of the St. Mary Magdalen Church finance committee. He previously served as the operational co-chairman during Phase I and II of St. Mary Magdalen’s Capital Campaign and Restoration project from 2003 until 2012. With the help of his leadership, the campaign raised over $4.5 million. He is also a St. Mary Magdalen Parish council member, and the president of the Vermilion Catholic High School Advisory Board. Pat formerly served as president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana and remains an active board member. Under Pat’s guidance, Gulf Coast Bank has become the largest sales location for the annual Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana’s Running of the Ducks. Over the past seven years, Gulf Coast Bank has raised over $260,000 in duck sales.
Under the leadership of the Patout brothers, Gulf Coast Bank has been recognized for its continued support and commitment to the local community. Their sponsorships include financial contributions as well as volunteered time and effort from employees. Paul and Pat are passionate volunteers for the annual Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana’s Running of the Ducks, Acadian Village’s Noel Acadien au Village, the Abbeville Christmas Stroll, UL Signing Day, Downtown Alive and many other community events and fundraisers.
Paul and Pat are natives of Lafayette Parish and graduates of Teurlings Catholic High School. They have been residents of Vermilion Parish for more than 30 years and are members of St. Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church. Paul has been married to Kim Legnon Patout for 36 years and has six children. Pat has been married to Vickie Boudreaux Patout for 33 years, has six children and is currently expecting two grandchildren.
(Mark Suellentrop, Facility General Manager)
Corporate Award Recipient
Cabot Corporation’s Ville Platte facility is receiving the Leaders in Philanthropy Corporate Award for its outstanding generosity and charitable contributions to Evangeline Parish. Cabot is a global leader in the specialty chemicals and performance solutions industry with more than 130 years of experience. The plant in Ville Platte was established in 1943, and today manufactures a variety of carbon black materials for use in applications such as tires.
Cabot is driven by its core values: integrity, respect, excellence and responsibility. Community outreach has been essential to Cabot throughout its history, ensuring that it makes a positive and lasting difference in its communities while being a responsible corporate citizen and good neighbor.
Cabot’s giving philosophy prioritizes science, technology, education and literacy, recognizing that today’s students will be the thinkers, innovators and leaders of tomorrow. Specifically, Cabot’s philanthropy aligns with national goals for advancing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
In line with this strategy, Cabot’s Ville Platte plant has made numerous contributions to assist in meeting the parish’s educational needs. In addition, Cabot and its employees support the St. Landry-Evangeline United Way in its efforts to ensure that quality health and human care services are provided in those parishes. Since 1989, the plant has conducted an annual fundraising campaign to supportthe memberagencies and programs of the United Way.Employees at the Ville Platte plant also participate as members of the United Way’s board of directors and sit on various committees. For the past three years, Cabot has led the United Way’s Day of Action in Evangeline Parish and worked on projects at schools and with the Boys & Girls Club of Ville Platte.
Throughout the years, Cabot has created a strong partnership with local schools and libraries to help encourage technology and science education. Recently, Cabot assisted with upgrading information technology equipment in Evangeline Parish Schools. The funds were used to help provide the local school board and students with the necessary technology and tools to prepare students for the future, and ensure compliance with state-required online courses. The Cabot Foundation also funded new computer lab equipment at Bayou Chicot Elementary School and a science lab at Ville Platte High.
Cabot assisted the Evangeline Parish Library System by providing funds to purchase laptop computers and computer desks for the new main parish library. The company also provides ongoing support to enhance the Evangeline Parish Public Library summer reading programs.
Cabot employees also spend countless hours providing hands-on support in the local community. Whether they’re in the schools conducting CHOICES workshops for the eighth graders, volunteering as science fair judges or even conducting clothing drives for local shelters, Cabot employees are helping to make a difference in Ville Platte and Evangeline Parish.
Cabot delivers a broad range of products in every corner of the globe, serving key industries such as transportation, infrastructure, environment and consumer.The company is a leading provider of rubberandspecialty carbons,activated carbon,inkjet colorants,cesium formate drilling fluids,fumed silicaandaerogel.
Van Eaton & Romero, LLC, a Latter & Blum Company, has been selected to receive the Leaders in Philanthropy Corporate Award for its outstanding generosity and commitment to Acadiana. Founders Nancy Van Eaton Prince and Gail Romero joined forces in the late ‘70s. William "Bill" Bacqué joined them in 1990, becoming partner in 200 — and together they have strengthened Acadiana through their individual and collective commitment to philanthropy.
Van Eaton & Romero was founded nearly 40 years ago with a commitment to give back to the community. As a real estate company, Van Eaton & Romero understands that a cultural focus has a connection to the economy in a positive way. People and businesses looking to make Acadiana home appreciate a community where education, children and the arts are properly cultivated, and Van Eaton & Romero is dedicated to developing these aspects of the community.
From its beginning, Van Eaton & Romero contributed substantially to educational and cultural causes such as the Lafayette Education Foundation and the Lafayette Science Museum as well as to the early decades of the Performing Arts Society of Acadiana (PASA) and the current Acadiana Center for the Arts (AcA). Its support continues with those and other organizations that enhance our culture such as the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra & Conservatory of Music, the Lafayette Ballet Theatre and the Paul & Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum.
Van Eaton & Romero’s focus also includes nonprofits with direct benefits to children such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana, Boy Scouts and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana. It was also instrumental in the development of the Children’s Museum of Acadiana and has been a regular contributor to the Miles Perret Center among a variety of other social services organizations.
Additionally, Van Eaton & Romero has been a major contributor to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with an endowed Real Estate Professorship and sponsorship of the BI Moody III College of Business Sales Training Laboratory — a new lab featuring interactive equipment designed for sales training of business graduates. In keeping with this commitment to the University, Robert Merrick, CEO of parent company Latter & Blum, has donated to the University personally and through a New Orleans-based foundation he leads.
Van Eaton & Romero was founded in 1977 by Nancy Van Eaton Prince and Gail Romero. In 2012, the company merged with Latter & Blum, making it part of the largest real estate organization in the Gulf South. Composed of nearly 260 agents and full-time staff, Van Eaton & Romero includes a full service Relocation Department, a Commercial Division, and satellite locations in Carencro, Opelousas, New Iberia and River Ranch. Van Eaton & Romero’s main office is located on the corner of Kaliste Saloom Road and Camellia Boulevard.
Author of "Do the Right Thing: How Dedicated Employees Create Loyal Customers and Large Profits"
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, American air carriers were struggling to stay in business. Uncertain times and unprecedented economic challenges led many companies to lay off employees or raise customer fees. As CEO of Southwest Airlines, Jim Parker decided to take a different approach: no layoffs, no pay cuts and no-hassle refunds for any customer wanting them. He doubled-down on Southwest’s strong corporate culture of trust and mutual respect, believing that doing the right thing wasn’t just a good moral decision, it was a sound business one as well. As a result, Southwest not only rebounded but grew quickly, and was the only major airline to protect the jobs of all its employees. Additionally, Southwest Airlines remained profitable every year during Parker’s tenure as CEO and, in fact, every quarter.
Parker shared his business philosophy in his 2007 book, Do the Right Thing: How Dedicated Employees Create Loyal Customers and Large Profits. He explains that when management respects and appreciates employees, they, in turn, do the same for the customers. When times are tough, that respect and appreciation will lead customers to remain loyal, finding a way to purchase products or services in spite of the cost. He recounts stories from after 9/11 in which customers declined to ask for refunds, telling Southwest employees that the airline needed it more than they did. Some even sent money to Southwest for the same reason.
During Parker’s tenure as CEO, Southwest was named "Most Admired Airline” and one of three "Most Admired Companies” by Fortune magazine; "Airline of the Year” by Air Transport World magazine; and one of the "World’s Most Socially Responsible Companies” by Global Finance magazine. Parker was also named "co-CEO of the Year” in 2001 by Morningstar.com, and was included in Institutional Investor’s list of the nation’s best CEOs in 2004.
A lawyer by trade, Parker spent 16 years as General Counsel of Southwest Airlines before being selected to lead the company. Now retired, Jim Parker is a sought-after speaker on the value of corporate culture, offering deeply personal insights into the principles that can make any team or company strong. He gives his advice on identifying great leaders in every level of the organization as well as finding the right employees to build a functional and happy team.