Ascension Volunteer Firefighter Spotlight: St. Amant Fire Chief James E. LeBlanc

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
St. Amant Fire Chief James E. LeBlanc

James has known no other life but being a volunteer in Ascension Parish. He joined the local fire service at the age of 13 as a Junior Firefighter. At the age of 19 he was elected the youngest Fire Chief in the State of Louisiana. At the age of 24 he was elected the youngest President of the Louisiana Fire Chief’s Association, which directs and leads all the Fire Chief’s across the State of Louisiana. On Jan. 1, 2016, James began his 30th year as a Volunteer Fire Chief in Ascension Parish serving the Prairieville and St. Amant communities. 

Awards won:

  • 2010- Ascension Parish Community Volunteer of the Year
  • 2011- Ascension Parish Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award
  • Aug. 26, 2015- Parish President Tommy Martinez and Parish Council honored James with “James E. LeBlanc Day in Ascension Parish”

Favorite thing about being Fire Chief in Ascension Parish:

In the later months of 2008 and early months of 2009 James had a very serious mission in mind for Ascension Parish. James came up with a program to place an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in every public and private school in Ascension Parish, both on the East and West Banks of the Parish. To this point there were no AED’s in Ascension Parish Schools. James felt strong that Public access to defibrillation (PAD) means making AEDs available in public and/or private places where large numbers of people and children gather or where people who are at high risk for heart attacks may be on a daily basis. James felt that early CPR techniques in the Ascension Parish School System were an integral part of providing lifesaving aid to people suffering sudden cardiac arrest. CPR helps to circulate oxygen-rich blood to the brain. After the AED is attached and delivers a shock, the typical AED will prompt any school employee to continue CPR while the device continues to analyze the victim. The mission for the project was to have the AED’s where a school employee could grab the AED and use it at school to save a life before the Emergency Response Teams ever arrived at the school. We are very proud to announce that every public school in Ascension Parish now has an AED on campus. Several of the private schools in Ascension Parish also have them. Honeywell Chemical Plant where James works was the first chemical plant to put up money for the Parish Wide Event.

James was also very instrumental in the forming of the St. Amant For St. Jude Organization. This is a St. Amant family based Organization to solely raise money to send to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center. The Family Formed Organization sent over $25,000.00 to St. Jude from the small Ascension family based group.

Fun facts about James:

  • Loves spending time with his wife of 28 years and his five children and three grand-children
  • Loves to go camping
  • Loves serving the community:
    • Fire Service- Chairman Ascension Parish Fire Dist. #1
    • Recreation for the Parish – Volunteer Coach in Ascension for over 15 years
    • Churches – Knights of Columbus, (3rd Degree) and local church fair committees
    • Children – Chairman for the past eight years for the Spartan / Gator Shout Out Committee, raised over $108,000.00 per school in the past 8 years 
    • Schools – President St. Amant Booster Club
    • Public Safety – APSO Reserve Commander for Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office
    • Industry – President Ascension CAER Committee – which is an Organization of all the area Chemical Plants in Ascension Parish.
    • Community Leader – Elected Constable of the 3rd Justice Court of Ascension Parish for the past – 16 years