Today, I have to give a shout out to Larry and Karen Daigle of Kenner, Louisiana. Larry and Karen contacted me after I posted about the shrine at the tree where their grandson, Joseph Lesky, died in February this year. They’ve called me and e-mailed to express their appreciation and to share with me how they are still grieving at his loss.
My wife and I come to Clear Lake regularly to see our grandchildren. It seems fitting that we also stop to acknowledge and honor the memory of Larry and Karen’s grandson whose shrine is only a few blocks away.
This week, I received a package in the mail from Larry and Karen with a collection of memorial items for Joseph and his friend Cruz. They also gave me a keychain that they use as a fundraiser for their charitable work. They wrote an explanation of the program and how it came about. The truck they use is decked out in images and memorabilia for their favorite football team, which fittingly enough is the New Orleans Saints. Here’s a short version of their wonderful letter.
“Dear Mr. Ben,
We own Da Who Dat Truck. It is a 1998 Ford F-150 pick-up. (You may have seen it). It is wrapped with some images of Saints Players. The owners of the N.O. Saints football team, some coaches, and some players have signed the dash.
7 years ago I (Karen) told Larry wanted to do something special with the truck. I overheard a lasty at my work telling someone that she was not going to have a good Christmas this year. Money wasn’t there, and she had several children.
When I got home, I told Larry we were going to get some food and gifts and a Santa and go to her house for Christmas. She was our 1st family, our 1st year. We loved it, and they had a Christmas afterall. And they loved it and they loved the Saints’ truck.
Since then, we call the church every year and get the names of 10 families. I call businesses and individuals to see if they would like to help with money, toys, or food. So far, we have been pretty successful. This year (2016) will be our 8th year.
(We only tell) the families that Santa is coming to see the children. Larry dresses as Santa, 4 of our friends dress as elves, each child gets 3-4 gifts, and the family receives a big box of food. Everything for a Christmas dinner plus a turkey or ham. We deliver in the truck.
Talk about surprised! It is so worth it to see the children, their eyes, the hugs we get, the smiles, thank-you’s, the tears from the parents. We love it.
One year, we had keychains made to raise money for Christmas. Everyone loves the Saints and the truck. I am sending you a key chain, hope you like it.
Please keep in touch, thanks for everything,
Larry & Karen Daigle”
Thank you so much, Larry and Karen. I’m keeping the keychain, but I did leave one of the wristbands at the site today. I slipped it over the top of Joseph’s cross, right next to the little truck that someone had already left there.
The Tree Shrine for Joseph Lesky and his friend Cruz is located on the median at the 3700 block of Bay Area Boulevard, Clear Lake, Houston, Texas