Norco man turns into avid volunteer after wife’s death

‘My legs are still good, although my brain is so-so.’

Herman Louque’s life reads like the Who’s Who in volunteerism in St. Charles Parish.

But if that isn’t impressive enough, then consider this factoid about this Norco resident – he’s 87 years old – and has no plans of slowing down.

“I feel like I can do it,” Louque said. “My legs are still good, although my brain is so-so. I just like to help people out.”

When his wife died in 2003, Louque knew he wasn’t a “stay at home guy” and one thing led to another.

“People wanted to see me get out of the house and get active,” he said. “This all started about the same time.”About 14 years ago, Louque began cooking for members of the Norco Volunteer Fire Department, and still does so today.

At around the same time, the St. Charles Council on Aging invited him to join the council and he still meets with them every Wednesday. He started with the advisory council and then was voted to the Board of Directors, where he stayed six years (two of them as vice chairman and two as chairman). He agreed to return to the advisory council and was recently elected vice chairman of the council, as well as serves on the council’s six committees.

“I told her as long as I can drive, I’ll serve,” Louque said he told Executive Director April Keller. “I’m not a house guy. I don’t like to stay in the house. I like to see people with that big smile when you do something for them.”

And the list of volunteer groups just kept growing.

“I don’t mind doing it because I still got decent health,” he said. “It just makes me feel good.”

RSVP, Norco Civic Association, Men of Sacred Heart, Holy Name Society, Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, St. Charles Senior Citizens Club and veterans organizations are all on his schedule.

In RSVP, he’s been recognized among the volunteers who volunteered the most hours in the parish for the last six or seven years.

As a longtime member of the Norco Civic Association, Louque has helped install handicap ramps in Norco for those in need as a member of the Handyman Committee. But he’s also the group’s vice chairman and member of the board of directors.

With Men of Sacred Heart (formerly called the Yard Boys), he helps repair, build or clean anything for the church or school. Louque meets with them at 8 a.m. every Wednesday and works for five hours.

“Sometimes I take on a special project and do it at home because of special tools,” he said. “This has been going on for 25 years and I am the only original member left.”

As a 55-year member of the Holy Name Society, Louque recently started leading the Society’s Radio Rosary broadcast once a month.

He is very active with Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, where he is an usher at weekend mass and altar server at the weekday masses two or three times a week. Additionally, he leads a group with the rosary every Monday morning at 7:30 a.m., and is altar server for all the funeral masses at the church.

Louque is also a lifetime member of the VFW American Legion, Korean War Veterans Association and the Military Order of the Purple Heart, although he doesn’t really do anything with two of them because they have no post in the area.

“I’m a busy man,” he said. “I guess I’ll slow down one day, but as along as I’m able I’m staying with it.”

But even with this seemingly exhausting schedule, he finds time for some recreation.

“I go to the casinos a lot,” he mused. “I find time to enjoy myself.”

Louque likes the penny slots, although he adds, “But they’re really not pennies, though.”

This Friday, he had four meetings to attend, so he keeps a bustling itinerary. But Louque admitted another reason why he likes volunteering.

“The ladies really like me because, when they need something built they really like that … a hand rail here or there,” he said. “It’s a good feeling. It’s better than money. As long  my health holds up, I’ll do it.”

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