Good food – Good people – Good outlook


Story and Photos by Juanice Gray
Dion Boyett was sworn in as Natchitoches Kiwanis Club President at a banquet and awards ceremony Monday, Sept. 25. In addition to Boyett, officers Rodney Boswell, President-elect, Carey Etheredge and Craig Caskey, Vice-President, LaCarsha Babers, Immediate Past President; Lee Waskom, Treasurer; and Richard Rose, Secretary, were all sworn in by Kiwanis Lt. Gov. Rita James of Winnfield.
The Events Center banquet room was decorated for the event in red and gold. Lasyones provided catering services.
Guests of honor included Firefighter of the Year Douglas Dewayne Downs, NPD Lawman of the Year Rudy Glass, NPSO Lawman of the Year Det. Jonathan Byles, La. State Trooper Lawman of the Year Master Trooper John Jett, Layperson of the Year Rene Lewis, Teacher of the Year Crystal Pierce and NSU scholarship recipient Kenneth Penrod. Each had a place of honor at their own table surrounded by invited guests and supporters.
Firefighter Michael Sesvold presented the award to Downs and recognized his service as a firefighter. Sesvold said Downs was “..a good, honest and humble servant to God and his department and community.”
Glass was presented his award by Asst. Chief Harmon Winters who stated the young officer was coming into his own as an outstanding officer.
Troop E Commander Jason Smith commended Jett for his 18 years in law enforcement saying he was the kind of man you wanted wearing the uniform.
Byles was presented his award by NPSO Chief Investigator Greg Dunn who regaled the St. Mary’s alum for his work as a detective and his dedication to ensuring sex offenders in the parish are held accountable. “He took on this task on top of his being a full time detective,” Dunn said.
Fairview Alpha Principal Brooke Williams touted Pierce’s dedication to education. “Crystal was named LAE Teacher of the Year and represented us in Washington, D.C. and in China for two weeks learning how best to reach our students. I’ve known her 20 years and am proud she is at my school.”
LaCarsha Babers awarded Lewis saying she was an exemplary person who gave because it was the right thing to do. Lewis has been a school nurse with Natchitoches Parish School Board for 17 years. She is school nurse for Golddonna Elementary/Jr. High School and Natchitoches Central High School. For six years at NCHS, she taught a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) class.
Nettles Brown received the President’s Award and Lee Waskom was named Kiwanian of the year.
John Cunningham, 25 year member, Ronald Roy, 45 years, and Nettles Brown, 50 years, were named to the Legion of Honor.
Additional recognition was given to those associated with the Kiwanis Terrific Kid program, disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey, service and attendance.
Boyett concluded the program with a recap of the organization’s purpose of providing for children and establishing the club, as an entity, as a vital part of the Natchitoches community.