Sen. Louie Bernard and Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. recognized six distinguished community members as Natchitoches Treasures during a celebratory luncheon Nov. 4. The awards were established in 2008 to recognize residents of retirement age whose contributions to the community embody ideals of service, generosity, volunteerism and love for their community. This year’s inductees are Brad Ferguson, Victor Jones, Bobbye Lee, Chris Maggio, Warren Massia and Lisso Simmons, who join 78 prior recipients as luminaries among those who selflessly serve Natchitoches through their everyday actions.
Brad Ferguson was recognized for his generosity toward those in need, including his service with the Lion’s Club and efforts to provide wheelchairs for disabled children abroad. He was also thanked for enriching the culture of Natchitoches by creating the Natchitoches classic car show in 2006 and nurturing it from only 50 vehicles then, to more than 400 in 2022.
Former Sheriff Victor Jones attributed his success to his family and other members of law enforcement who supported him along the way. He has served in a broad array of leadership roles, most notably in law enforcement and for organizing support networks for senior residents. He is also an active member of the Kiwanis and served on the board of the Louisiana Special Olympics.
Bobbye Lee achieved recognition for her tireless work rescuing and caring for dogs, cats and even livestock throughout the parish and was instrumental in convincing local officials of the need for shelters services to accept animals other than dogs.
Chris Maggio was inducted for his service to Northwestern State University along with serving on the boards of Exchange Bank and Natchitoches Regional Medical Center. During his 33 years at NSU, he oversaw both record student enrollment and record contributions to the university’s capital campaign.
Warren Massia stated that his wife should have won the award instead for supporting him as he contributed his time to serving the people of Natchitoches. He was recognized for developing computing programs at Northwestern State, devoting his time to university and youth sports and assisting ill, elderly and homebound residents with food deliveries and transportation assistance for appointments.
Lisso Simmons was not able to attend in person because of illness, and was represented by his son, Russell Simmons. At 100 years old, he is a veteran of World War II and has been an active member of the Lion’s Club for nearly half a century. He was recognized for his contribution to building homes for Natchitoches residents with the Fuller Center for Housing and visiting residents in local nursing care homes.