And Hundreds of Others in Houma
The Dudley DeBosier’s philosophy is to continue to empower communities and even its staff members, knowing that such a huge firm cares about truly making a difference, big or small. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do everything that I do for those in need in the Houma community.
Let’s start from the beginning. My name is Monique, and I’m a Legal Assistant at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers. My story started 17 years ago when I was in downtown Houma, and I noticed a young man sifting through the garbage. I’d noticed him before this, though, as many homeless people frequented the area.
The first time I’d met him, he was smoking cigarette butts that he found in the trash. Something told me I needed to talk to him, and I wasn’t shy to introduce myself. But, this was the second time I’d met him — this time, he was eating food that was thrown away.
“Look, don’t do that,” I said. “You can get sick. I’ll buy you a meal.” I asked him what he liked, and he said Burger King, so that’s what I got. Then, I sat down with him while he ate and learned his name was Jarius.
He wasn’t always homeless. He struggled with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia his whole life but graduated from Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s in Counseling. He was a Counselor until his mental illness overtook his reality, and he started using drugs. He lost everything. And yet, even after all these years, Jarius would never ask me for anything, and I always gave him food anyway or bought him nights at a hotel during hurricanes and heavy storms.
Ever since then, I’ve been feeding those in the homeless community, sitting down with them to learn their stories.
Although I don’t know what it’s like to be homeless, I do know what it’s like to suddenly lose work that’d been steady your whole life. I was a Claims Adjustor and Client Manager for one of the biggest offshore boat companies in the world for 13-and-a-half years. Then, when I was 52 years old, the company filed for bankruptcy. I lost my job, and the position I had didn’t exist anymore. I was very lucky to still have my paralegal credentials, but it was a job I hadn’t done in many years. I managed to find work in New Orleans, but it was an hourlong commute.
That was a huge concern for me. Who was going to take care of the local homeless community? Who was going to feed Jarius?
Luckily, my husband and friends stepped up to help me out, and it always made me smile to see their selfies during lunch with Jarius, holding a plate of food for him. But I really missed being there.
Then, while eating breakfast one morning, I saw Dudley DeBosier was coming to Houma. I had heard such wonderful things about them, and I was so excited! I learned that they were looking for a Paralegal, and knew I had to go for it. I got the job, and I was able to stay close to home!
It touches me how different Dudley DeBosier really is. The partners are passionate about each community they’re a part of, and quick to give back when and where they can, no matter what the situation may be. During a short conversation with them, they asked me what downtown Houma could really use and what I thought the office needed. I responded half-seriously, “Oh gosh, a food pantry.” The homelessness in our area was so bad.
Before I knew it, they were asking me what it took to open a food pantry. They donated money each month to cover the cost of groceries that I needed to make it happen.
Although I am still working as a Paralegal, I get to continue my life’s work of feeding the hungry and homeless in Houma, who mean so much to me. The mission has spread exponentially throughout the area, and I’ve been grateful to meet so many wonderful families.
It makes me very emotional to think about where I am now – I can’t thank Dudley DeBosier enough — there are so many people in Houma that need help and need to be heard. But there are also many people, like me, that know and feel everyday what a difference Dudley DeBosier truly makes.
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