An unknown man still tells the story of a testimony to God

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 28, 2008

By Harold Keller

    As my wife and I entered Dr. Velez’s office in Metairie, the receptionist was on the phone.  After a short wait, she greeted us with a smile and said, “That was my mother.  She’s concerned about Hurricane Gustav.”  I said, “Tell your mother not to worry.  We’ll be spared.” 

She was a very pleasant lady with a good personality and a great spirit.  Her name was Shelia Pusey and she shared with us that her mom, Shirley Lacoste, lived in Destrehan. 

In the course of our conversation, she said that her dad died in January at the age of 82 and worked at Winn-Dixie in Destrehan until the day before he died.  I could sense the love and admiration she had for him. 

I then said, “I can tell by talking to you that your dad was a great father and husband.”   She immediately replied, “Yes, he was.”  “I knew that just by talking to you,” I said. 

The world would say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  The Bible says that you will know a person by the fruit of their labor.  I told Sheila that she was the product of a godly father.  She thanked me for the compliment.

Her dad was Henry Lacoste.  Shelia enjoyed telling me about a man I never met, but was beginning to feel like I knew him.

I listened as she related that he was in the Merchant Marines in World War II and had lied about his age to get in. 

Later, he worked at Upton Printing in New Orleans for 25 years and then worked for himself as a “Chef on Wheels” for 20 years, going to different workplaces preparing breakfast and lunch. 

At the time of his death, he had been working for Winn-Dixie for 15 years.  “He loved his job,” she said and looked forward everyday to going to work.  I interrupted her and said, “Your dad never did work.”  She looked confused.  I then told her, “It’s been said that if you love your job, you never have to work.”  She agreed.

Sheila has two brothers and one sister. Mr. Lacoste left 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 

As we were ending our conversation, she proudly said, “My dad was an Eagle Scout.  He told us that at the age of 13, he was awarded the Eagle Scout Badge and no one in his family was in attendance.  But guess what!  In January of 2006, the New Orleans Saints organization paid tribute to all the Eagle Scouts in the area and my dad was honored in front of thousands of people as the Saints recognized him and other Eagle Scouts.  He was the second oldest in the group.”

I thought, “What a tremendous gesture by the Saints organization!” 

As my wife and I left the office, I thanked God that I was privileged to learn about the life of Mr. Henry Lacoste, a testimony to what a real man of God should be.

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