Hays Town Jr. – … a person of character

CONSIDERING, he launched St. Elizabeth Foundation 25 years ago with a desire to give young, pregnant women without resources more options for adoption in Baton Rouge. The foundation has placed more than 450 babies in loving homes while assisting young women in crisis. Its ?25 Years of Silver Linings Gala will be held April 27 at the Cook Hotel and Conference Center.

CONSIDERING, he has always been passionately involved in the community. While in college at LSU, he chaired a function for needy children. He helped establish the first Montessori school in the South in 1966 in Baton Rouge and served on its board. He was a Scout Master of Troup 107 at St. Aloysius for many years. After establishing St. Elizabeth Foundation, he served on the LSU School of Social Work Advisory Board and was involved with the group that oversaw the childcare laws of the state. Recently, he has donated his time “ringing the bell” for the Salvation Army between Thanksgiving and Christmas outside Walmart on College Drive. “Donating is good for everyone involved.”

CONSIDERING, he has been married to Gay for 56 years and has six children, 21 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. “I’ve always tried to lead by example, and I’m proud to say that my children are community activists. It’s an important part of our lives to be kind and to help other people.”

CONSIDERING, he has never forgotten that every child in his second-grade class received a ruler with the Golden Rule printed on it. Four years ago, he started ordering and distributing similar rulers to all second-graders in private and parochial schools in the area. “The Golden Rule means a lot to me. I’m hoping some of these children will adopt its principles.”

CONSIDERING, his company, Town Construction, contributed to and built a house for Habitat for Humanity. He helped establish the local chapter of Association of Builders and Contractors and served as its first president. He received the first Man of the Year award in the construction industry from the national chapter of ABC for his work in promoting ethical practices and establishing training classes for the subcontractors in the industry. He also served on the State Licensing Board for Contractors for 17 years, including as its president. In addition, he served on the construction board of appeals for the parish for 20 years.

CONSIDERING, he returned to school at the age of 75 to take a few classes on weather, and he became immersed in learning about our local aquifer. Determined to raise awareness about the area’s shrinking drinking water supply, he founded the nonprofit BR Citizens to Save Our Water. He speaks to groups weekly about this issue. He has continued coursework to aid him in his mission and will receive his master’s in geography and anthropology in May.

CONSIDERING, at 78 he will not rest on his laurels. “You slow down with age, no doubt. But I’m not ready to quit.”

Editor Ashley Gordon nominates a person of character from the Baton Rouge community each month. [email protected]