Christopher Baird is committed to helping his community however he can – whether in person or online.
Baird, a St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy, said when he and a friend created the Facebook page “St. Charles Parish STRONG” he never could have imagined the community it would create or the ways that it would serve people.
“We originally created it in March 2020 – in the height of COVID,” he said. “Originally the page was my idea to give people a way to ask for resources and for the community to offer help like cutting grass for someone or getting groceries for someone … things like that.”
Baird said the page exploded with new followers, and a new purpose, during the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
“A lot of people had evacuated and they were unsure about the extent of the damage of their homes or what the progress was with cleanup,” he said. “They were also curious about business closures and reopenings and a lot of posts were geared around general information of the state of the parish after the storm.”
The page tripled in followers in the initial aftermath of Ida, and that’s when Baird started updating the page twice daily with parish progress reports. He eventually started adding inspirational messages and quotes to his posts, and the community’s response was overwhelming.
“The responses I was getting were from people telling me how I brightened their day with the positivity,” Baird said. “It really is an amazing feeling to be able to interact with the community outside of my profession. To be able to help them – whether it’s in person or just mentally or just bring a smile to them – is so rewarding.”
Baird has been a police officer for 17 years, with most of that time spent in St. Charles Parish.
“I was born and raised and never moved from Des Allemands,” he said, adding he did spend four years working at another parish’s sheriff’s office. “Working in another community makes you realize things about St. Charles … it’s definitely a very tight community. I have wonderful neighbors. I have neighbors who say, ‘I know you’ve been working a lot and I hope you don’t mind I came and cut your grass for you.’ We really do take care of each other … we’re one big family.”
Baird, a Marine Corps veteran, said he is proud to serve St. Charles Parish in whatever capacity he can.
“I’ve been all over the world and that old saying is true … there’s just no place like home.”