American Legion Auxiliary Post 1982 chairperson Nancy Hebert noticed a man in a wheelchair sitting near a door gazing outside. She was inspired.
“It all began with my visits to the nursing home to visit the veterans. I would always see Mr. Wilbert Trahan looking out two double glass doors looking for birds. With nothing but a cement church parking lot and an empty grass lot, there was little chance of birds getting close enough for Mr. Wilbert to see birds,” Hebert said. “With a generous donation from Cleco, presented by Steve Segura to the American Legion Auxiliary, it was voted unanimously to use the donation at Iberia Manor Nursing Home.”
With the additional help from the manager at Lowe’s, the project came together. Several consultations with the activity director, the group decided to purchase eight bags of mulch, two bird baths, four bird houses, six rose bushes and a few additional garden items.
“At the Sept. 11th event in New Iberia, I saw and approached scout leader Russell Decoux,” Hebert said. “I asked if he would be interested in a project with his unit. The only day they had available was a Sunday. I of course, grabbed the opportunity for his help. I knew I would not be able to handle bird baths and the heavy bags of mulch.”
Scouts and adult leaders met early morning Oct. 6 and immediately started working. Weeds were pulled out, flower beds raked and over grown plants trimmed. Two of the scout leaders and half the scouts took over the front area pulling out pecan trees that had grown in the flower beds and bagged all the debris.
In the back garden area, a crepe myrtle’s branches were pruned. Scout Master Jonathan Granger actually climbed the tree to cut all the excess branches nearly touching the grass. After hauling off long branches, six rose bushes were planted. Broken brick pavers were dug out and replaced. Two bird baths were set in place, two bird houses hung in the tree and two bird houses were attached to the garden fence. The scouts also raked the back garden area, picked up and bagged the raked trash then spread the last four bags of mulch.
A third bird bath was taken to the back area of the nursing home. This bird bath was special as it was donated by veteran Donnie and Hollie Lasher to veteran Wilbert Trahan; the man who inspired the whole project. Less than a week later the bird bath was taken. Trahan, who spent most of the week ill in his room, never got to enjoy the bird bath or see birds on this special gift. He spends hours of his time looking out the two glass doors hoping to see birds.
Hebert walked door to door in the neighborhood hoping someone had seen the theft.
A police report was filed.