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Friends, supporters raise $21,000 for the Get High on Life ministry

Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / July 6, 1998

LAPLACE – Among community members, political dignitaries and former alcoholics and drug addicts Harold Keller sat, sometimes laughing and sometimes fighting back tears.

The second annual Get High on Life banquet was Tuesday night at the Holiday Inn and with about 200 attending at $100 a couple, the organization was able to raise a lot of money. Not to mention the $10,000donated by the 18 sponsors.

Last year’s banquet brought in $12,400 for the organization, Keller said.

This year’s banquet raised $21,000.

The night included listening to emotional testimonies from people whose lives Keller touched and even a couple of funny remarks made by friends who had known him for years.

David Soldani, a recovering addict of two and half years, who met Keller while he was at Fountainbleu Hospital, told about Keller’s visits to the treatment center every Saturday night. Soldani said all of the clientsthere called it “Saturday Night Live.”He also said that they looked forward to seeing Keller so much that they would wait for him by the door and with their first glimpse of him coming they would begin clapping.

Soldani said at first he was just waiting for Keller to walk on water with all of the clapping. “Now I think he probably can walk on water with whathe has done in my life through his ministry,” he said.

Soldani said he was on drugs for 14 years and his marriage was suffering.

But with the help of Keller and the Get High on Life ministry, Soldani was able to have the strength to straighten his life out. “Fourteen years ofdrugs can do a lot of damage,” he said. “But now I have my wife and myfamily back. And I recently walked my daughter down the aisle.”Get High on Life Committee chairman Danny Louque shared the vision of the ministry with the crowd. “I like to call Harold the encourager,” hesaid. “He does it so much sometimes it aggravates me,” he added jokingly.Dr. Billy St. Martin, another committee member, said that Keller has beenministering to the downtrodden for many years. “Get High on Life is aministry that Harold had a vision of several years ago,” St. Martin said.”And he worked at it day and night. He does a great job of helping people inneed.

“And it doesn’t cost them money,” St. Martin added. “It’s all a freetreatment. Get High on Life is a free ministry. We need to share our loveand share whatever we have and our finances.”Ronny Michel, Keller’s oldest daughter and mistress of ceremonies, said she was behind her parents’ ministry 100 percent, but she said the secret to the success of Keller’s ministry was the strength her mother, Jeanne Keller, gives.

Platinum sponsors, who donated $1,000, are Quality Machine Works and St.

Joan of Arc Catholic Church. Gold sponsors, who donated $500, are ADMGrowmark, Glenn “Skip” Allen, ANCO – Sonny Anderson, Bank of LaPlace, Brand Scaffold, District Attorney John Crum, Representative Bobby Faucheux, First American Bank, Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse, Steve Lee, New Wine Fellowship, Reserve Christian Church, River Parishes Hospital, St. James Bank and Trust Company, Sicily’s Pizza and Southern Chem.Keller was pleased with the turnout and the fun the banquet provided to all who attended. “It was great,” he said. “When you get people who wantto help you it’s always great.”

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