Each year the Rotary Club of St. Charles Parish recognizes St. Charles Parish citizens who exemplify the club’s motto of “Service Above Self”.
This year Mary Anne Schindler was voted as the Citizen of the Year, and Indira Escobar and Brady Dufrene were each selected as a Rotary Young Person of the Year.
They were honored in a luncheon last week.
Schindler is the director of the Matthew 25:35 Food Pantry in Destrehan. She and her husband Ronnie Schindler have three children and six grandchildren.
“Family is how I learned to be passionate about serving others that needed help,” Schindler said. “The first memory I have of a major mission project is when we went as a family to a school in St. Bernard Parish to help clean up after Hurricane Betsy. I can vividly remember the desk coated in mud and prying the books out from under the seats of the desk. I was eleven years old, but I can remember how important it was to make the room as close to perfect as we could … the mud in those desks, books stuck in their place and the smell will never be forgotten. Also, the pride to be able to help these people has helped shape the rest of my life.”
Throughout the years Schindler has joined and served in many organizations including on the Beautification Committee of the OCA, as the President of the Destrehan Booster Club, as a PTA Vice-President, as the Ormond Garden Club President, as the JROTC of Destrehan High School President, as the DHS Band President and on St. Charles Parish Recreation Department Advisory Team as well as several school system teams.
Her involvement with the St. Charles United Methodist Church eventually let Schindler to partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank and growing the church’s existing food ministry to establish Matthew 25:35 Ministries in 2016. The ministry has been instrumental in feeding local families on a regular basis, as well as assisting in pandemic and hurricane recoveries.
“I have a passion to help people and to treat them like family,” Schindler said. “Nothing keeps me going more than serving other does … I thank God that He called me to this service and has used me in every way He has.”
In addition to the Citizen of the Year award, Rotary Public Relations Chair Kelsey Pollock said Schindler was also presented with a Paul Harris Fellow, a $1,000 donation to the Rotary Foundation in her name on behalf of the club, and a medal from District 6840 District Governor, Bob Vaughn, for her impact after Hurricane Ida.
“The club members also collected non-perishable items for the food pantry to honor her,” Pollock said.
The 2022 Destrehan High School Young Person of the Year is Indira Escobar.
Escobar is very involved both with school and her community at a local and national level. She is a member and officer of numerous clubs including NHS, NEHS, Mu Alpha Theta, Robotics and Student Council.
She helped found WISE, a club dedicated to saving the environment, and she serves as a kick-off mentor to freshman. Escobar has also organized hurricane relief. She writes for the Youth Climate Action Coalition, which has been published nationally.
Escobar is described by her teachers as ambitious, smart, positive, eager, hard-working and incredibly kind.
The 2022 Hahnville High School Young Person of the Year, Brady Dufrene, is an altar server at Holy Family, a singer, an actor and has been an integral part of Hahnville’s Swim Team, Future Business Leaders of America, chorus and theatre programs.
He is a member of the National Honors Society, International Thespian Society and Beta Club.
Along with all of his extracurricular school commitments, Dufrene has worked as a life guard and as a private swim instructor.
Through his connection with the HHS Swim Team, Dufrene had the opportunity to volunteer with multiple Special Olympics swim events. Through his church experiences, he and his family sponsored multiple families in need during the Christmas season.
Dufrene has also served with Dat Dads Club of Luling for the last six years.
He plans to attend Benedictine College, where he has been accepted into two honors programs – one of which is a community service group. He plans to major in Biochemistry and continue on to medical school to become an ENT specialist.