Marshal’s Office showing a little ‘senior love’

Published 11:35 am Thursday, March 28, 2024

Three men in blue left the Lake Charles home of Leola Stevenson on Wednesday, each with a piece of homemade birthday cake in hand. Ward 3 Marshal Nathan Keller, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff-elect Stitch Guillory and CPSO Assistant Chief Deputy Franklin Fondel were there to show a little “senior love,” Keller said, and serve Stevenson fresh-made shrimp fettuccine with Louisiana shrimp, green beans, a roll and huge brownie.

Stevenson was one of the 700 recipients of the Marshal’s Office third annual Senior Luncheon. The officers knew from a note attached to the delivery box that it was her 93rd birthday, and they had planned to sing “Happy Birthday.” They didn’t expect to be served homemade coconut cake with pineapple filling.

Other officers’ delivery box notes included information about the seniors who would be served that day that might have mobility or hearing issues, according to Deputy Marshal Monique Pitre. She reminded the officers to observe living conditions and to report any bruising or other concerns. Certified medical assistant students from Sowela and Calcasieu Parish President Anthony Bartie assisted in putting the meals together. Stulb & Associates, Cousins and Fatboys helped fund and/or prepare the food.

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Keller said some seniors in Calcasieu Parish often have to choose between buying medication, buying groceries or paying the  utility bill, and this was going on before the high price of groceries and other necessities. Senior groups, churches and other organizations help get the names to the Marshal’s Office of those who are homebound and fall within a certain income range.

“With this being Holy Week, I wanted to get an eye on as many of our seniors as possible,” Keller said, “ to make sure they have a nourishing meal and are out of harm’s way.” Marshals were joined by CPSO Deputies and city police throughout the parish. In addition to the lunch, fruit, educational materials and business cards were delivered. Keller wants area seniors to know how and who to call when they need help or need to report abuse.

“Sadly, elderly abuse is on the rise,” he said.

State Elderly Protective Services (EPS) received 5,200 reports of elder abuse and neglect from 2017 to 2022. The most common allegations were self-neglect, caregiver neglect, financial exploitation and emotional abuse.

The first year, the Ward 3 Marshal’s Office served 500. They are shooting for 1,000 next year. To report elderly abuse, call 1-800–898-4910 or local law enforcement. To inquire about signing up for next year’s event, call 337-491-1469.