Special Olympics receives generous donation from Valero Meraux Refinery

St. Bernard Parish School Board Members and administrators receive a generous donation of $61,000 for the Special Olympics Program.

The spirit of giving was evident at the most recent school board meeting as members of the Valero Meraux Refinery presented the district’s Special Olympics Program with a generous donation of $61,000.

Each fall, Valero chooses a recipient to donate the proceeds raised from its Annual Valero Fishing Rodeo. Held at the Hopedale Marina in St. Bernard, this charitable event brings together a unique blend of partners and families, encouraging cooperation and kindness.

Vice President and General Manager Jack Merrill of Valero said the rodeo is always a great time to benefit a good cause.

“We are very proud to be a member of this parish. This event was incredibly successful, and we want to thank all of the volunteers and businesses who participated. We would not have been nearly as successful without them,” he said.

Also on hand for the check presentation were fellow Rodeo Planning Committee members Jimmy Starr and Jimmy Kamm.

Joining Valero in support of the rodeo were this year’s title sponsors:  the Meraux Foundation, HydroChem, Stronghold Specialty, and Keystone. There was also a great many of in-kind contributions from community partners.

Cheramie Kerth, Supervisor of Special Education for St. Bernard Parish Schools, said the funding will be used to replace and update equipment and materials to use for on-site training and team competitions.

“This will include videos, curriculum, safety training, developing educational materials for volunteer coaches, awards for the athletes, team uniforms, event supplies, and family support. We are truly grateful for this donation,” Kerth said.   

School Board President Diana Dysart thanked Valero for their generous donation.

“Community members like Valero do not come along every day. We are so grateful for their generosity and support of our schools and especially of our Special Olympics Team,” she said.

The St. Bernard Parish Special Olympics program is one of the best in the state and was recently recognized by the state of Louisiana as a program of distinction.

Superintendent Doris Voitier seconded Dysart’s sentiments and also announced that Special Olympics Coordinator Paul Frey will be serving as a coach at the state level, supporting local Olympians as they compete in this year’s national games.

“As a public school system, we take pride in providing all of our students with opportunities to thrive and excel,” Voitier said. “This program is incredibly important to our system and would not be possible without the volunteers, administrators, and community partners who support our students each year.”