WELSH - The Welsh Board of Aldermen moved forward Tuesday in naming a pavilion at Richmond Park in honor of a local educator and pillar of the community.
The council voted unanimously to name the pavilion the Cora Mae Gordon Vital Memorial Pavilion after Vital who passed away in November 2017 at the age of 83 after years of service to her community.
The effort to name the pavilion after Vital was led by long-time resident Michael Prudhomme, who rode around town on his three-wheel bicycle asking residents to sign the petition.
"I got out on my bike and a lot of people told me they loved the way she (Vital) supported her town, church and school," he said. "She was there for the people."
Prudhomme presented the town with a petition signed by 1,243 people.
"I love her," Prudhomme said. "She was on Welsh Rotary, a school teacher and served her church and community."
Mayor Carolyn Louviere said Prudhomme worked very hard to obtain the signatures and to get the park named in Vital's honor.
"I think this is going to bring the people together," Louviere said. "There's a common bond with Cora Mae and what Michael has done. Anytime something like this happens, it brings the people together because we all share the same love for Cora Mae."
In appreciation, of his efforts the council presented Prudhomme with a key to the city.
District 37 State Rep. Troy Romero also presented Prudhomme with a commendation from the state House of Representatives for his work to name the pavilion after Vital in recognition of her love, commitment and service to the people of Welsh.
"Michael Prudhomme has lived in Welsh for the majority of his life and is a dedicated citizen," Romero said. "He selflessly offers help with special projects and local endeavors and has given many hours of community service to the town."
He further commended Prudhomme for dedicating his life to serve others and his relentless efforts to honor Vital.
Alderman Colby Perry also presented Prudhomme with a certificate of recognition from Gov. John Bel Edwards. In reading the certificate, Perry said it recognized Prudhomme for his "service, strong commitment and unwilling dedication to the community of Jeff Davis Parish."
Vital was affiliated with and participated in numerous professional, civic and social organizations and received many certificates, honors, participation and service awards. She held memberships in Welsh Rotary Club, Jeff Davis Retired Teachers Association, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Unit 520, Welsh Museum, Jeff Davis Council on Aging and Red Hat Society.
She served as president of the Jeff Davis Retired Teachers Association (2002-2011) and was honored with the Killinger-Vital Scholarship Grant being named in her honor. She was also named Welsh Rotarian of the Year in 2017.