Branch receives award from DAR

Published 4:11 am Saturday, April 14, 2018

Recently Will Branch was honored at Bogalusa Grill and Event Center as the recipient of the National Conservation Award of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

This medal and certificate are given to a non-member adult volunteer with a distinguished conservation record. John Gallaspy, master of ceremonies for the occasion, introduced the Rev. Caleb Martin, who gave the invocation. The pledge of allegiance to the flag was led by Katherine Chamberlain, recording secretary of the Louisiana Society Daughters of the American Revolution, followed by the national anthem, led by Paul and Janice Sumrall, the honoree’s brother and sister-in-law. Percy Knight provided background music at the piano.

John Gallaspy introduced the dignitaries present — including Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette, Parish President Ned Thomas, Parish Clerk of Court Johnny Crain Jr., Parish Assessor James Stevenson, Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal, Registrar of Voters Randy Strickland, Bogalusa Councilman Teddy Drummond; Lewis Murray, Assistant District Attorney; and manager of the Bogalusa DA’s office, Gary Magee.

State Regent Zora McGuffee Olsson brought greetings from the State Society and began the testimonials to Branch’s long history of recycling wood and volunteerism. Lynne Alexander, vice regent of the Oushola Chapter, told of his moving a large historic tulip poplar tree from its original site at the YWCA to its new home at Goodyear Park. Former parish clerk of court and longtime friend, Johnny Crain, spoke of Branch’s community service. Patricia Branch, representing the Museums of Cassidy Park, paid tribute to the late Sandy Bloom for her tireless efforts with Branch in the razing of the Y in preparation for the sale of the land to the local hospital. Finally, Minnie Quay Posey, chairman of the Flower House Division of the Washington Parish Fair Association, spoke of Branch’s use of vintage wood to make the Flower House compatible with the surrounding structures on the fairgrounds.

The National Conservation Medal and Certificate, framed with vintage wood from the area, were presented by State Conservation Chairman Gaye Stanga. Branch graciously accepted the award, with thanks to all who attended, and with special recognition to his wife Ruth and other family members.

Branch then presented a memento made from recycled wood from the YWCA to each of the participants and DAR members present. After the benediction, given by Sheriff Randy Seal, the entire group was welcomed to a celebration buffet.

Also during the ceremony, Margaret Ryals, recording secretary for the Oushola Chapter, was given special recognition for her commitment to the application process for the award.