‘We salute…’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Each Wednesday, L’Observateur will recognize individuals and businesses in the River Parishes who have gone “above and beyond” in their efforts to make this a better place to live, work, play and raise a family.

We believe that an integral part of a community’s wellbeing is an attitude and arena where people who do good things … who work to improve life for others … who try to make a difference … are recognized and saluted.

Because this is a salute to members of the community of the entire River Parishes, we solicit your recommendations for groups or individuals to be considered for inclusion.

This week we salute:

• GEORGE “SCRAP” HYMEL, who was recently crowned King Sucrose at the 68th annual Louisiana Sugarcane Festival in New Iberia. Hymel has been in the business all his life and calls sugarcane farming “pretty much what I was born to do.” The Gramercy resident is only the third person from St. James Parish to receive the honor.

• THE MARATHON REFINERY IN GARYVILLE, which recently was recognized by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for its cleanup efforts. A former sludge pit on the refinery’s property has been cleaned sufficiently to now qualify for residential zoning.

• EAST ST. JOHN BAND DIRECTOR JOSEPH TORREGANO, who was recently recognized for the outstanding academic achievements of the students involved in his music program at the school. Of 70 students, 41 attained a grade point average of 3.0 or better.

• THE UNITED WAY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH, which recently held its annual golf tournament to raise money for local charities. This year’s event was the most successful so far, raising $70,000. Over the past decade, the organization has raised over $500,000 for the needy families of the parish.