St. James Parish bids farewell to longtime officials

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 28, 2011

By David Vitrano


VACHERIE – The St. James Parish Council bid farewell to three longstanding fixtures at the body’s meetings during 2011’s last gathering of the year.

Councilman Elwyn Bocz and Parish President Dale Hymel, both 20-year veterans, and Councilman Wilson Malbrough were honored by the parish as they each moved on to different phases of their lives.

Bocz quipped, “I wore the same jacket for 20 years,” as he began a short speech near the meeting’s conclusion.

“This is one of the best groups of people as far as getting things done,” he added.

Not all of his words were based in nostalgia, however. The ever-passionate councilman took the opportunity to lament the fact he was unable to see recycling return to the parish. The parish had a recycling program until Hurricane Katrina forced its cancellation.

“Twenty years ago we were the only parish (with recycling),” he said. “Now we are one of the only parishes without it.”

Malbrough added a little on the subject when it was his turn to speak.

“It’s caring about the future,” he said. “Things like this don’t go away,” he added, holding up a plastic water bottle.

Most of his comments, though, were reserved for praise for the people he had come to know during his time on the council.

“Parish government doesn’t pay the greatest salaries, but I think it has the greatest people,” he said.

Hymel, in his final speech to the council as parish president, spoke with fondness of his time with St. James Parish and his successor, Timmy Roussel.

Referring to Roussel, he joked, “I taught him everything he knows but not everything I know.”

He said Roussel has allowed Hymel to keep his old email address and phone number so he can still be reached by the constituents he served for two decades.

“I’m only a phone call or an email away,” he said.

In closing, Hymel summed up the sentiment that filled the room in the down-to-earth style for which he is known.

“All good things must come to an end,” he said.

Following the short speeches, each was presented a plaque honoring their years of service to the parish.