"You never know what you do, but people are watching."
Mayor Barney Arceneaux proclaimed December 10 as Outstanding Citizen Day last month and awarded the 2018 honor, a first of its kind, to Barbara Melancon.
Mayor Arceneaux said the council will look to proclaim an outstanding citizen each year from now on between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"It was the first award that the City of Gonzales gave out at the town council meeting," Melancon said. "I know Barney would like to promote it and let it be known that it will be done every year."
Melancon was present at the meeting with her brother Mike Hebert and his wife, Joell, her sister Pookie Lambert and her husband, Woody, and her brother Gary and his wife, Glenda. Her family was in on the surprise.
"I was so surprised," Melancon said. "I never in my life expected anything like that because what I do, I go around into the nursing homes and retirement centers, and I visit with them and dance with them because that's what I like to do. You never know what you do, but people are watching."
Melancon is retired from her 32 years at St. Theresa School, having served the majority of that time as Development Director, who was responsible for raising funds. The Gonzales High School Class of '68 graduate is still involved in local politics, having served on Parish President Kenny Matassa's campaign staff.
"The Christmas spirit was getting to me," Mayor Arceneaux said. "I was thinking about it right after Thanksgiving that it would be nice to do something around that time to select somebody out in the community that's done a lot of good work for our citizens.
"In her her regard, she does so much for the senior citizens that she just stood out. She visits the senior homes and feeds them, talks to them, dances with them . . . and she just enjoys doing that type of work."