What started off as an idea to help a local family by organizing a raffle snowballed into a full day of fundraisers that raised nearly $10,000 for the Oubre family.
Bridgette Oubre is a beloved Norco Elementary School kindergarten teacher who in December received news that her colon cancer had returned. Her husband is St. Charles Sheriff’s Office Capt. Richie Oubre, who is a 23-year veteran of the force.
“Richie and Bridgette are wonderful people, both who have dedicated their lives to St. Charles Parish and making their community a better place,” St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. James Grimaldi said. “Richie has spent countless hours of his life patrolling streets, solving crime and helping citizens selflessly, and Bridgette is a teacher who is always putting her students first and doing everything in her power to educate our children today so they may be our leaders tomorrow.”
Grimaldi said a little over a month ago he and other coworkers were discussing Bridgette’s diagnosis.
“We were discussing the stresses, worries and fears associated with not just the ill person in a situation such as this, but also the financial burden, stress and overall pain it causes to the friends and family,” he said. “During the conversation, Derek Pertuis mentioned that he wanted to help the Oubres somehow. Richie is a close friend of Derek, as well as a highly respected member of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office workplace. Derek began tossing ideas of fundraisers and we weighed the pros and cons of each.”
After the discussion, the group of coworkers decided on a raffle.
“As members of the community learned of our fundraising efforts, many people contacted us wanting to just make donations,” Grimaldi said. “Before we knew it, all and all we had collected something close to $7,000.”
During the raffle planning, Grimaldi spoke with Paul Murray and Chad Murray of the Destrehan Rotolo’s Pizzeria about the idea of doing a Rotolo’s Night fundraiser. March 30 was picked as the date that 20% of sales would go to the Oubre family.
“The event at Rotolo’s was a huge success,” Grimaldi said. “I was told, unofficially, that they more than doubled their normal sales volume for the day. The Rotolo’s event resulted in a total donation of $2,000.”
Southern Traditions Snowball truck joined in on the fundraising night as well.
“All and all, so many people stepped up to help,” Grimaldi said. “This is what being in a small community is about. I always say, there is no place I have ever seen like St. Charles Parish. If there is a problem, everyone is always there to step up and help.”
Bridgette said she was overwhelmed with the community’s support.
“I can’t express how grateful we are to be a part of a community that supports us as we go through this challenge,” Bridgette said. “Thank you to Rotolos and all the staff who worked so hard yesterday. Thank you to the sheriff’s office with the raffle, and thank you to Southern Traditions Snowball truck for coming out. Thank you to our friends and family who came out and ordered food. You are helping us move these mountains one at a time.”
Grimaldi said that Pertuis and Lonnie Senior were crucial in the day’s planning and success.
“And of course, a huge thank you to the Murray family, the employees at Rotolo’s in Destrehan – that worked their butts off – and Southern Traditions StreetSide Café and Snowballs,” Grimaldi said, adding Southern Traditions also provided all of the Rotolo’s employees working with complementary sweets to thank them for their hard work throughout the day. “Richie has always been an inspiring person in the workplace to myself and many other employees. The Oubre family are great people with long ties in the community.”
Grimaldi said in tough times like cancer diagnoses, simple signs of appreciation, groups of people coming forward to show support and financial support to help pay medical bills can means wonders to someone that is stressed, worried and just trying to see a brighter future.
“If we can take one ounce of stress away from the family’s shoulder for just a moment, or just help them smile for just a second when they saw the overwhelming number of people that came to support…. we did something right then,” Grimaldi said.