Many years ago, I starting doing one of those generic Thanksgiving columns, giving thanks for various things in my life. I soon realized I was most grateful for my family. Since then I've been bringing you (and me, for that matter) up to date on these folks. Here's the latest:
My wife is back at work for the state in the mental health field, helping people who have few others in their corner. She's a tireless advocate for the mentally ill, and I admire her greatly for her dedication.
Kids and spouses
Daughter Tammy, my oldest, is a medical coder for Ochsner. Her husband Boyce, a retired fire chief, is branch director for Mississippi Emergency Management. They live in Long Beach, Mississippi, adopting the Jimmy Buffett lifestyle when off duty.
Son Thomas, aka Pokey, is a retired deputy fire chief and now regulatory safety officer for Our Lady of the Lake. His wife Nicole is a sought-after hairdresser for the ladies of Zachary, where they live.
Tammy presented me with three grandchildren:
Katie, with State Farm Insurance in Lafayette, is busy unpacking in their new house she shares with husband Glen, operations manager for Petroleum Coordinators.
Mandy and husband Corey are both LSU nursing graduates and live in Diamondhead, Mississippi. She's a NICU nurse at Slidell Memorial and Corey is cardiovascular coordinator at Singing River Ochsner in Pascagoula.
My third grandchild from Tammy's side of the family, Landon, is no longer with us, due to the ravages of spina bifida. He was a 15-year-old at Zachary High, wheeling all over town, making friends everywhere and making us laugh … until we cried.
From son Thomas, I got two grandsons and a granddaughter.
Tayler is a radiology tech at Lane Memorial in Zachary, where she lives with husband Adam, a firefighter with the Baton Rouge Fire Department.
Ron is a firefighter for St. George Fire Department and runs a grass-cutting business in Zachary, where he lives with wife Kelsey, a nurse who's transitioned into a teacher for their girls.
Clint, my youngest grandson, is a Baton Rouge Fire Department firefighter. (You sense a theme here?)
I've got 11 great-grandchildren, so bear with me here as I try to remember them all:
Katie has two children: son Ethan, a football and basketball player at Teurlings in Lafayette, and daughter Emma, active in theater at St. Cecilia in Broussard.
Mandy is responsible for three of my greats, all A students: Leah, an avid soccer player; Macy, a budding artist, and Noah, sports enthusiast and potential class clown.
Ron is proud papa of three lovely girls: Natalie, Heidi, and baby Annie Gray (carrying on the family middle name).
Clint's son Aidyn started first grade at Silliman in Clinton this fall.
Tayler is proud of her two boys: Austin, 7, and Dean, 5; both active in Zachary sports programs.
Louis and family
My brother Louis lives in Oakdale with wife Jane. They're retired and enjoying their three sons and families.
Judd is a physician in Reno, where he and wife Stacy keep busy with twins Jakob and Justin. Jason is a New Orleans attorney with two boys, Jackson and Colin. Josh is in the oil business in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he and Lauren have two boys, Grand and Drake. Josh's daughter Vanessa lives in Central with her mother Melissa, a nurse.
Valeri and family
Katherine's sister Valeri has returned to Louisiana from Pennsylvania and resumed her consulting project PLACES, improving places where we live, work, and play.
Her son Wil and wife Jen live in Frisco, Texas, where he's an officer of the Federal Reserve. Daughter Arabella is in fourth grade, Aliana is in first.
Son Wes and wife Michelle live in Chicago. He's a partner at Gensler architectural, design, and consulting firm. Michelle, with Blue Cross, has masters degrees in data science and public health. Daughter Nola is in second grade.
That's the crew. I'm proud so many of them are in the health and safety fields, helping others. I'm thankful they're family.