When Terry Mathews attended the 42 Annual Board of Directors meeting of the North Delta Regional Planning Development District last week, he had no idea he was to be the guest of honor.
During the meeting, the NDRPDD Executive Director, David Creed, announced the recipient of the 22nd Dr. G. D. Merrick Award, and Mathews said he had never been so surprised as when he heard the winner's name.
"I couldn't believe it was me," said Mathews, who is also the Morehouse Parish Police Jury Presidnet. "This award is so prestigious, with past winners being people such as [Monroe mayor] Jamie Mayor, [former Monroe mayor's] Dave Norris and Abe Pierce."
Creed agreed with Mathews in reference to the significance of the award.
"The winner is chosen by our staff," Creed said. "The winner is what you might call our a most valuable player."
The Dr. G. D. Merrick Award began 22 years ago, fashioned after the man who it is named after – Dr. G. D. Merrick.
Creed said that Merrick was a former president of North Delta, "sometime during the mid to late 1970's."
"Dr. Merrick was a veterinarian in Rayville, but he was always available anytime we needed him," Creed said. "After he passed, the staff thought it would be a good idea to create this award in his honor."
Creed explained how the Merrick Award is given to individuals who exemplify the dedication that Dr. Merrick demonstrated during his reign.
"We knew Terry Mathews was a great choice because he is always available and hard working when we need him," Creed said.
Creed said thanks to Mathews taking the initiative to bring in positive projects to this area, Morehouse Parish had been selected as one of the pilot parishes to be getting broadband internet in the near future. This type of internet is faster than dial up and will be offered free of charge in this parish.
"We're wanting to help the businesses here," Creed said. "Especially the smaller ones."
Creed said they'll have experts come in and help local merchants set up websites that will allow their product to become more visible.
"If this is a success, we'll broaden it into more parishes," Creed said. "But for now, Morehouse Parish will get to reap the benefits of it, thanks to Terry Mathews."
Creed said that Mathews had done many other "great projects" in previous years, but he had really gone above and beyond this past year.
Mathews said he plans to continue doing what he's been doing.
"I don't see what I've been doing as special," he said. "I just do things that I know are right and will benefit the residents in Morehouse Parish."
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