LAKE CHARLES, LA.(KPLC) -He's the founding director of a well loved agency that has helped guide thousands of children to adulthood. But after all these years Fred Rickman of Big Brothers Big Sisters is retiring. It's an organization whose volunteers have provided mentoring to thousands of kids over the last three years and its success is, in large part, due to Rickman who has been the director for the past three decades. "It's been great. It's been a wonderful journey, it's been fun, it's been exciting. It's been a big part of my life and now we have the opportunity to have a new chapter for a new person."
While Fred purports to be a grownup, there are plenty of pictures to suggest he's always been a kid at heart. Fred was himself a big brother to Kevin Patrick for many years and they remain good friends. "I think Kevin stays in touch with me more frequently than my own sons. And I don't think he's ever allowed more than a month to pass to call me and the first thing he always says is, 'I love you.' I mean it's a wonderful experience to walk someone into adulthood."
Fred will consult the agency during the transition to a new director. Board member Gary Scroggs says thanks to Fred, the agency has a bright future. "Fred just brought tremendous things to the organization. The main thing is his passion for kids. And his passion for kids is what helped establish and grow and build the Southwest Louisiana Big Brothers Big Sisters organization to best in class Big Brothers Big Sisters in the nation."
Fred says mentoring a child has many rewards. "It takes children at their most vulnerable time and provides them with hope and new direction and makes an impact that changes their lives forever."
As Fred retires he says his fondest memories are of the many "bigs and littles" he's known as friends over the years. The new director, Dana Forest, will take over first of the year.
For more information on the Big Brothers Big Sisters program call 478 KIDS.