No doubting Thomas: Local grocer is ‘Citizen of Year’

Published 5:40 am Friday, April 28, 2017

Travis Thomas joined a list of outstanding local residents, as he was named the 2016 Bogalusa Citizen of the Year on Wednesday evening.

Past Citizen of the Year honorees voted for the 2016 award at The Daily News office on Wednesday, and then traveled to Thomas’s home in rural Washington Parish to deliver the news to him personally.

“I’m surprised, I’m telling you,” Thomas said. “I didn’t have any idea. I’m just overwhelmed. It’s such an honor.”

John Gallaspy used a bit of sly trickery to guarantee that Thomas would be home. Gallaspy called Thomas and told him that he had “some watermelons that you won’t believe,” before leading a convoy out to Thomas’s house.

“When Mr. John called me and said ‘I’ll be there in 20 minutes,’ I wondered if he thought I was at the store,” said Thomas, with a laugh. He is the owner and operator of Travis’s Grocery and Market.

The writer of Thomas’s nomination letter expressed many of the kind things that he has done throughout the years.

The writer noted that Thomas has helped many people and civic organizations, by giving significant discounts on meat and staples when they have events or are in a time of need. The writer also noted that Thomas personally visits some of his customers at their homes, delivers their groceries and even drives them to doctors’ visits.

“He is known as the ‘Father of the Terrace,’” the writer said.

“I have known Travis since the late 1950s. He has always been a kind and generous person,” the writer continued. “God has blessed him with a great living and (he) continues to love and care about people. When I think of the word ‘JOY,’ I think of Travis. J — Jesus first, O — others second, Y — you third.”

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