Mon. April 4

A Touching Story of the Heart

I spent most of the day today at Alexandria’s Rapides General Hospital as my lifetime best friend, Joe Aguillard, had bypass surgery.

We’re thankful to God for successful quadruple bypass on Joe. Continue in prayer for Joe, Judy, and their girls as he recuperates.  Joe fills an extremely important position as President of our beloved Louisiana College. Pray for Joe during this time of healing, adjustment, and reflection.

The surgery waiting room was filled with caring friends and family of the Aguillards. People brought food, flowers, and most importantly, heart-felt prayer.

Mid-morning I met an older gentleman who introduced himself as Rev. Dennis LeDoux.  His Cajun accent gave him away as from Evangeline Parish.

When Rev. LeDoux told me he was from Glenmora, I did a double take.  He quickly confirmed my suspicion of his roots by saying he grew up in Basile. He then related a story that has kept me thinking all day.

When Dennis LeDoux was a high school senior he worked on the Aguillard Rice Farm under Joe’s father, Harry.

Harry Aguillard is still a hero to those who knew and loved him.  The following story confirms why:   LeDoux said that as he and Mr. Aguillard loaded a rice truck, the farmer asked about his college plans, then said,  “If you ever need money for college, come see me.”

Several years later, LeDoux found himself in need of $300.00 cash to continue his schooling and took Aguillard up on the offer.  When he promised to pay the money back later, Harry Aguillard waved him off,  “You don’t owe me anything.  Just promise me that if any of my children ever need help, you’ll help them.”

Dennis LeDoux continued with emotion in his voice,  “Years later when I was back on my feet, I tried to pay Mr. Harry back.  He sternly said,  ‘I didn’t give that money to you. I gave it to the Lord.’  Then he repeated his previous words,  ‘Just remember: if any of my family or children ever need help, please help them’.”

As Mr. LeDoux finished this story in the Rapides General waiting room, I said,  “It’s more than ironic that you’re here today as Harry Aguillard’s son has heart surgery.  I believe you’ve kept your promise.”

The pastor looked out the window as if he could see a rice truck in a long ago Basile rice field.  “This family did a lot for me when I was young.  I’d do anything for them.”

I was reminded of the basic goodness of men.  Of the joy of generosity and how it lives on.  Of how a strong heart is measured in many ways.

I was reminded that even though my friend Joe’s father, Harry Aguillard, died forty years ago, his good deeds and kindness lives on.  It lives on in the story told to today by a Church of Christ pastor named Dennis LeDoux.

It lives on in the life of a man I admire as deeply anyone in the world,  Harry Aguillard’s son, Joe.

The writer of Proverbs said it well,  “A good name is to be desired above great riches.”

Dennis LeDoux

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