Sunday, May 19 2013 5:58 PM EDT2013-05-19 21:58:26 GMT
Source: Louisiana State Police
Authorities are urging motorists to avoid I-10 West and East bound at mile marker 25 due to a tanker truck on fire. Fire crews are still working to extinguish flames on an 18-wheel oil tanker. LouisianaMore >>
Louisiana State Police is investigating an oil tanker tractor fire on Interstate 10 that caused major traffic delays Sunday afternoon. More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 9:05 PM EDT2013-05-18 01:05:04 GMT
The Southwest Louisiana Tea Party movement began picking up steam in 2009 as members from throughout the five parish area began gathering for rallies and becoming more visible and involved in local governmentMore >>
The Southwest Louisiana Tea Party movement began picking up steam in 2009 as members from throughout the five-parish area began gathering for rallies and becoming more visible and involved in local government and the political scene.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:55 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:55:58 GMT
An arrest has been made in the 1962 death of Mary Horton Vail. Vail was found dead in the Calcasieu River in October 1962, her husband, Felix Vail, claimed she was the victim of a boating accident. TheMore >>
Mary Horton Vail was found dead in the Calcasieu River in October 1962. Her husband, Felix Vail, claimed she was the victim of a boating accident.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 6:17 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:17:04 GMT
Friday marks the anniversary of the first woman reported missing in the Jeff Davis Eight case. On May 17, 2005, 28-year-old Loretta Chaisson Lewis went missing. Three days later, her body was found floatingMore >>
Friday marks the anniversary of the first woman reported missing in the Jeff Davis Eight case.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 5:47 PM EDT2013-05-17 21:47:38 GMT
More than 825 students - the largest graduating class in McNeese State University history - are expected to receive degrees at the university's spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18,More >>
More than 825 students - the largest graduating class in McNeese State University history - are expected to receive degrees at the university's spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at Burton Coliseum.More >>
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FORT POLK, LA (KPLC) -
It's been a deadly 10 years for America's military in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
That has kept military casualty assistance officers around the country busy, including in southwest Louisiana.
Military funerals are a common sight in today's America. At every funeral, there's a family – a family that was visited by a casualty assistance officer.
At Fort Polk, Steve Humphries serves as the chief of casualty assistance.
"Not everybody can work here. We all have to have heart. Everyone that works on my staff are hand selected. They're very talented in what they do in helping surviving family members and soldiers when actions occur that are unfortunate, could be possibly the greatest tragedy in a family's life," Humphries said.
Humphries' staff trains soldiers to deliver the heartbreaking news and in severe circumstances, they go along.
"The loss of any soldier is traumatic. Every one of them are special. When you talk to a young wife who's just lost her husband in Afghanistan. It's what soldiers sign up to do, it's an unfortunate circumstance, and military wives are very strong," he said. "When you sit there and look at a wife hugging a casket with a flag draped, knowing he's there, that's always saddening. But every soldier, every retiree that dies are special."
Unit memorials allow families a chance to preserve the special memories. Humphries said there are some he will never forget.
"The little three-year-old daughter went up to the picture and kissed it and said that's my daddy … sorry … very touching," he said.
But when Humphries isn't dealing with loss, he's bringing cheer to those who need it the most … as Santa Claus, complete with a real beard, a special sleigh and his "naughty or nice" list.
Humphries specializes in special needs and autistic children, but also military children.
"When you ask them what they want for Christmas, you know a lot of children will say I'd like a toy or I'd like this, but when you have that one child that says I want my daddy to come home. Tough moment. Sorry. Little hard," he said.
Humphries, however, always has an answer for them.
"Your daddy will come home safe, and we'll all say prayers for him," he said.
Complete with a Victorian Santa suit and gold-rimmed glasses, Humphries wishes all of the children good cheer,"
"Ho, ho, ho … Merry Christmas," he said.
Humphries said that many children hand-deliver letters to him. He saves them all and has six years' worth in a big book.