Goodbyes can be hard, especially when, like Don Manuel, you've been a police juror for sixteen years. But Manuel's farewell was short and sweet in order to head to Mardi Gras festivities. It was obviously, an emotional time for Manuel as he told fellow jurors and parish staff, "Hopefully, we made a difference in our community. I thank you and God bless each and every one of you."
But his colleagues wouldn't let him get away without a few words about his contributions over the years. Juror Brent Clement told Manuel, "We've had good times and bad times but I appreciate you too Don."
Three jurors depart after eight years--Brent Clement's departing words: "You all have made me a better person. This job has made me a better person." Cornie Moon told them, "You all are a great group of people and staff." And Mike Danahay moves on to the state legislature. "I'm sure we'll be seeing each other in the future."
Tony Guillory opted not to run for police jury in order to participate in a hotly contested battle for State Representative District 34. Guillory lost that race and now leaves the police jury after just one term. He wiped away tears as he told fellow jurors, "I love you all."
All had words of praise for parish staff, whose efforts have helped build Calcasieu's reputation for governmental and fiscal excellence. Says Danahay, "People of Calcasieu Parish should be proud of their parish government. I always tell people, if I could take and bottle this and bring it to other places in the state, we'd have a much better state."
Clearly, for some there are ties that won't be broken. Hal McMillin and Brent Clement became the best of friends during their time on the jury. "There's only six that can carry a coffin, and I"ll be carrying his or he'll be carrying mine, one or the other. But it's good to have a best friend."
Yet, no doubt, some will show up on the political scene again like Guillory, who's planning a run for Lake Charles City Council. And a lot can happen in four years.