New Iberia philanthropist Johnny Indest has been named the new executive director of the Disch-DeClouet Social Service Center, replacing retiring director Carol Gaignard.
“Johnny will continue the great work that has been going on at the center for 43 years. He also brings a heart for the poor and a spirit rooted in the corporeal and spiritual works of mercy, as well as a wealth of management experience,” said Joanie Kraker, president of the center’s board of directors.
Gaignard served as executive director for 11 years.
“She has shown great compassion and caring to our clients, God’s beloved poor,” Kraker said. “She has also been an excellent leader and administrator during her long tenure as voluntary director.”
In addition to his work with Disch-DeClouet since his retirement as president and chief operations officer of the LHC Group eight years ago, Indest also has been the driving force behind Iberia Parish’s annual FoodNet food drive.
“I have always had a calling from Jesus to serve those most in need,” Indest said in a statement. “I vividly recall the beginning of the Social Service Center more than 43 years ago. Father Disch and Mike and Bev Firmin started it and I greatly admired the work it did. This was continued and enhanced by Paul and Shirley DeClouet. Upon my retirement, when asked what I would do with my time, I told anyone inquiring that I would spend some of my time serving the poor and needy of Iberia Parish.”
Indest was born in New Iberia, the third of seven children. His father, Roy Indest, was an oilfield equipment salesman and his mother, Joyce Indest, now 93 years old, is a retired school teacher. He and his wife Cathy have three children and nine grandchildren.
The Disch-DeClouet Social Service Center is a non-profit, faith-based organization which provides emergency assistance with no waiting period to the people of Iberia Parish with utility bills, rent, clothing, food, medicine, dental, burial assistance and others. It is open Monday through Thursday and can assist up to 30 clients a day. It is staffed by approximately 35 dedicated volunteers. The center is funded primarily through individual donations, and also receives funds from the United Way of Iberia and several New Iberia churches.