We met angels walking the earth during the filming of Secret Millionaire™ in South Plaquemines Parish who put helping others before themselves. We donated money to help these great community leaders. One a coach, one a Reverend, and a husband and wife who are teachers. Each fulfilling their visions by creating a community center, a volunteer center, and improving the high school where they teach. Click below to learn their incredible stories and how you can get involved.
Reverend Ted Turner returned to his home and his congregation following Hurricane Katrina to see that everything that made his community livable had been destroyed. (more)
Reverend Ted Turner returned to his home and his congregation following Hurricane Katrina to see that everything that made his community livable had been destroyed. Homes, businesses, and churches had all turned to rubble.
As a committed community leader, Reverend Turner knew he must do something to enable the rebirth of his community. He instantly saw that the community's greatest need was homes for residents to return to. As a young man, Reverend Turner had learned some basic carpentry skills from his father, so he retrained himself as a carpenter – with a vision of rebuilding his community. His efforts attracted so many others who were willing to come into South Plaquemines to volunteer their time and talent in support of this huge undertaking that the lack of a place to house volunteers with hotels destroyed became an obstacle. With that in mind, Reverend Turner added building a volunteer center to his vision as well as developing a structured system to organize and manage volunteer efforts.
Todd and Gwen contributed $100,000 to help finish Reverend Turner's Volunteer Center and to start the builds on an additional 10 homes in the community. They also stocked the center with a supply of recreational equipment to help the volunteers relax and enjoy themselves at the end of their long days.
The Volunteer Center now houses volunteers from all over the world that help rebuild homes in the South Plaquemines area.
To contact Rev. Turner for volunteering or donating information email him at [email protected].
Cyril Crutchfield is a coach and teacher at South Plaquemines High School. In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approached his home, Coach Crutchfield saw to it that his family (more)
Cyril Crutchfield is a coach and teacher at South Plaquemines High School. In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approached his home, Coach Crutchfield saw to it that his family, friends and students heeded the evacuation warnings. Coach Crutchfield, however, insisted on remaining behind so that he could work on lesson plans and football game preparations for his students' and athletes return to school.
As a resident of South Louisiana, Coach Crutchfield was no stranger to hurricanes, but this one was different. He planned to ride out the storm in the school cafeteria but a wall of water flooded his safe haven and sent him seeking higher ground in the school gymnasium. Even the rafters of the gym were not high enough for the rising waters, so Coach Crutchfield crawled through a window onto the roof of the school, where he rode out the storm and awaited rescue by airboat for more than 24 hours.
When the storm had passed, all three area high schools were left destroyed. Officials were forced to combine all three schools into one and set up in temporary buildings. As a man committed to his students, Coach Crutchfield would bring these former competitors together as a unified football team that would chose its own new school mascot. Fittingly, they chose The Hurricanes.
With little traditional training equipment or facilities remaining, The Hurricanes used what resources they had. The team trained on the levee of the Mississippi River, which became an ironic symbol of their quest, for it was the break in that same levee that had destroyed their individual teams. Now that levee would be used to unite them. The team made the playoffs that year and captured the state championship the next. This year The Hurricanes are again ranked #1 in the state.
Coach Crutchfield's commitment is so strong that to this day he still lives in a small trailer on the school grounds because his schedule has not allowed him to start repairs on his own home, some 3 years after the hurricane. He wakes up at 5:00 A.M. every morning to drive the school bus, spends a full day in class and then sees to it that his athletes attend study hall while he drives students home on the bus. Then Crutchfield returns to coach his team at practice. After practice, he drives the team members home before he returns to his own home to begin work on the next day's lesson plans and the football team practice preparation.
Because of Coach Crutchfield's commitment to guiding his students to success in school and life as adults, Todd and Gwen gave $50,000 of their own money to him to create a fund in support of his students and athletes, and another $50,000 so that he could start rebuilding his own home. They also sent Coach Crutchfield and his family on a vacation to Disney World.
Coach used this money to buy the team weights, uniforms and go to a football camp and construction has started on his family home.
Coach Cyril Crutchfield has been written about in the NY times article http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/12/sports/12parish.html?fta=y, and in the book "The Hurricanes" found in major bookstores.
To contact Coach Cyril Crutchfield to help with the students and athletes of South Plaquemines High School, email him at [email protected].
Elaine and Michael Cox were both teachers at South Plaquemines High School. Like thousands of others, they evacuated their home during Hurricane Katrina only to return and find it (more)
Elaine and Michael Cox were both teachers at South Plaquemines High School. Like thousands of others, they evacuated their home during Hurricane Katrina only to return and find it and everything around them destroyed. As educators and counselors, Elaine and Michael have spent their professional lives dedicated to the development of students. After Katrina, it was obvious to them that the total absence of organized activities and facilities targeting youth after the hurricane would lead many teens down a troubled path. They also realized that counseling was a serious need for the community after such a devastating storm.
With that in mind, the couple set their sights on creating a new community center which could provide a structured social and educational environment for youth. A local dentist whose practice was destroyed by the hurricane, got behind Elaine and Michael's vision by donating his building to house the center. Instead of rebuilding their own home, Elaine and Michael lived in a FEMA trailer next to the center so that they are able to focus their time working on renovations.
Todd and Gwen invested $100,000 of their own money to help complete Elaine and Michael's vision of a community center "The Gathering Place" and to supply the center with the essentials (computers, entertainment centers, furniture, etc.) to make it a true gathering place for teens. The Gathering Place is now being used by the community for socializing, entertainment, tutoring and counseling.
To contact Elaine and Michael for volunteering or donating information, email [email protected] or call (504) 912-1521.
Byron lost his restaurant, home and his community during Katrina, but his spirit and entrepreneurial resilience were undaunted. Refusing to turn his back on his community and business (more)
Byron lost his restaurant, home and his community during Katrina, but his spirit and entrepreneurial resilience were undaunted. Refusing to turn his back on his community and business, Byron lived in a tent for three months before moving into a tiny FEMA trailer and reopened the Black Velvet Oyster Bar. Throughout the Secret Millionaire™ experience, Byron was a tremendous resource to Todd and Gwen, helping them to identify those community activists who's efforts stood to make the greatest impact. He also gave Todd and Gwen a job at his restaurant during the filming.
Byron is actively involved in his community and is a volunteer fireman. The Black Velvet has a great South Louisiana menu and some great t-shirts and hats for purchase. Visit www.blackvelvetoysterbar.com.
Patty was among the last people to evacuate Buras as Hurricane Katrina rolled ashore, because she gave away most of the money she had in her pocket to help others seek safety. (more)
Patty was among the last people to evacuate Buras as Hurricane Katrina rolled ashore, because she gave away most of the money she had in her pocket to help others seek safety. She managed to drive to safety but was forced to dodge falling trees and live downed power lines. When she returned, her production facilities that shipped over 12,000 Louisiana Satsumas and oranges around the world and over 4,000 orange trees in her orchard had been totally destroyed. Patty rebuilt her operation on a smaller scale after the hurricane and even provided Todd and Gwen with a job picking oranges during their time on the Secret Millionaire.™
Contact Patty at 504-393-9324 or 504-453-7951 to order boxes of Louisiana Satsumas and oranges that can be delivered to your door. They make a great holiday gift.
220 Ft Jackson Street
Belle Chase, LA 70037