We lost a beloved member of our St. Vincent de Paul family recently, a man who was very dear to everyone who had the privilege of knowing him. Since the publication of our last Vincentian Charities newsletter, Donald J. Broussard went to his rest in heaven. Those of us who knew Don personally were fortunate indeed, but the cost of that friendship is the grief we feel at his passing. There is no way to measure the depth of our loss or the impact of his absence.
Don was a humble, soft-spoken man, whose strength and leadership were demonstrated through his words and actions. He lived his faith and led by example. He held so many important positions with our local Society of St. Vincent de Paul and played a critical role in the Society’s growth over the last three decades. Over the years, he was Chairman of our special works Board of Directors and a member of our Executive Committee. He was the first Chairman of the St. Vincent de Paul Foundation and was still the Chairman at the date of his passing. He was the founder of the St. Thomas More St. Vincent de Paul Conference. He was a leader in every St. Vincent de Paul capital campaign, playing a critical role in turning visions into realities. Services that were once nothing more than dreams – a community pharmacy, a new dining room, homeless shelters – materialized because of Don’s commitment to our mission of serving God’s poor.
These are extraordinary accomplishments, but Don wasn’t only involved in big things; he loved to do the “little” things as well. Whether it was helping the Bishop with our annual Christmas gift distribution to needy children, serving homecooked meals to our shelter guests, or making home visits to the poor, nothing was unimportant in his service to others.
Don was also a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Top Hat Hall of Fame. This is our most prestigious honor, which is bestowed in recognition of those who go far beyond the call of duty in answer to the call of Christ.
So many people have expressed their sorrow at the passing of such a good man. Michael Acaldo said, “Don’s faith was strong, and he believed that everything he did made a difference. Through his work with St. Vincent de Paul, he made a difference in the lives of those who worked alongside him, but also in the lives of thousands of strangers, people he didn’t know and would never meet. He left behind a huge circle of family and friends, but also a legacy of kindness, compassion, and generosity. He served as a model for others to follow.