Rotary heads to the putting green
Nickie Toups (center) addressed the Ville Platte Rotary Club about the Eunice Rotary Golf Tournament benefitting the EuniceCommunity Health Center. She is pictured here along with Rotary President Wayne Vidrine (left) and Rotarian Dan Poret (right) (Gazette photo by Tony Marks)
By: TONY MARKS
Nickie Toups serves as administrator of Eunice Manor Nursing Home and chairs the Eunice Rotary Golf Tournament, and she was the guest of Dan Poret at this week’s meeting of the Ville Platte Rotary Club. She spoke about her lifetime working in nursing homes and invited members to the golf tournament to be held August 12 at Koasati Pines.
“Nursing homes are my passion,” she said. “We all have a passion. Some love cattle, but I love nursing homes. Nursing homes are not bad places. They are filled with people who love people. I love people, and my passion is old people.”
Toups is a registered nurse and a licensed administrator. “I’ve been in nursing homes since I’m 16-years-old,”she said. “I started out as a candy striper passing out wine and cheese at four in the afternoon after school at a nursing home in Kaplan. It was the best job in the world. I couldn’t drink or sell alcohol, but I could give it to the 90-year-olds.”
She turned her love of nursing homes into a job as a certified nursing assistant and then became the activity director. “I became the activity director because I love to have fun,” she explained. “The activity director at the time was old and boring. I thought she should have been a patient and not an activity director, so I took the class and stole her job.”
After staging another coup, Toups became a social worker. “I became a social worker because I felt like we needed more social skills,” she stated. “The social worker was getting old, and she was boring too.”
Toups continued her course up becoming the director of nurses and administrator. She then spent 10 years flipping nursing homes. “When a nursing home goes out of compliance and they are not satisfactory to the federal government or the state, I can go in and start training,” she explained. “I start programs and get them in compliance.”
She has been at Eunice Manor for the past two years and has flipped it during that time. “Since I’ve been there, we have turned our dining room into a restaurant called Cafe Bravo,” she explained. “It offers restaurant style dining from eight in the morning to six at night.”
“I’m all about person centered care,” she added. “Everyone is treated like an individual and not like a group. My mission is to give person centered care but most of all to give love. Our vision is to love everyone and build relationships.”
Toups took this love for people and turned that into being the chair of the golf tournament benefitting the Eunice Community Health Center. She said that the center covers 60-mile radius and almost seven parishes. “They offer a hand out to those who are struggling with the hidden shame of not being able to afford health care,” she said. “We receive no federal or government funding for this program. Funding comes strictly from donations, so Eunice Rotary has three big fundraisers a year like the golf tournament where the proceeds go to Eunice Community Health Center.”
In other business, Leonard Glenn Fontenot recognized the newest Paul Harris Fellow. Darwan Lazard became the 109th member from the Ville Platte Rotary Club to donate $1,000.00 to the Rotary Foundation. According to Fontenot, “All of you who work with him and our club should be very proud to have someone who is of such a giving nature because Rotary Foundation is top-nothced in terms of giving and is a tool for a lot of people.”
Lazard then introduced as his guest the new principal of Ville Platte High School Melanie Miller. “She comes to us from St. Landry Parish,” Lazard stated. “She was a very successful assistant principal at Beau Chene and volunteered to take on the Herculean task of being the leader at historically low-performing Washington Elementary. Anybody who would take on that task deserves some attention. While she was there, that school has risen under her leadership, so she brings a lot to the table.”
Also with Lazard was Assistant Superintendent Michael Lombas who updated the Rotary Club on the French Immersion program. “Three French teachers are coming directly from France,” he stated. “They’re coming basically with their luggage, and they have to set up an apartment. We’re trying to defray the costs of their moving expenses.”
Lombas advised that donations of furniture and household items such as dinette sets, table and chairs, and living room furniture are being accepted.