Branch selected as Citizen of Year

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Patricia Branch was all smiles when she learned Friday evening that she had been selected as the 2015 Bogalusa Citizen of the Year.

“I’m just in shock,” she said. “It’s not anything I expected. I’m very humbled. I guess now I have to start working on my speech.”

Past Citizen of the Year honorees voted for the 2015 award at The Daily News office on Friday, and then traveled to Branch’s home to deliver the news personally. Sandy Bloom visited Branch ahead of time to be sure that she was home and pretend she was visiting to pick up some food.

“When Sandy came in, I said, ‘There are people parking their cars outside.’ Sandy said, ‘What people?’ She’s a terrible liar,” said Branch, with a laugh and wide grin.

Branch is a retired bank employee who has served with a variety of civic and volunteer organizations. Perhaps most notable is her work with the executive board of the Bogalusa Help Center and her service as treasurer of the Friends of Cassidy Park Museums.

“I worked at a bank for 41 years, and when I retired, I knew I couldn’t sit still,” Branch said. “The Bogalusa Help Center and museums are very important and special to me, in particular. I think they are two great things that our city really needs.”

While Branch helps on Wednesdays at the Bogalusa Help Center and its food bank, she enjoys making food nearly every day. Citizens who nominated Branch noted her willingness to cook for a variety of fundraisers. Branch also recently prepared a meal for the 30-plus volunteers of the All Hands organization — a group made up of volunteers from across the country that came to Bogalusa to help flood victims.

Branch is a lifelong member of ESM United Methodist Church, and is current chairman of the trustees. She has also been a former chairman of the church council and is a member of the finance committee.

Branch has also served with the Civic League, United Methodist Women, YWCA board of directors, and the Christmas in the Park Commission.

She has been especially busy recently, as the Museums of Cassidy Park try to recover from damages sustained during the March flood. However, Branch is confident the organization will make a full return.

“We’re still going through and checking on stuff that we’ve managed to salvage,” she said. “We’ll have a museum again, I have no doubt. We’ll have a museum as long as we have selfless volunteers.”

Branch will be honored at a public reception later this year. The date will be announced in the future.