By Kimberly Wallis
What advice would you give someone moving here?
“Come with an open mind. If you’re used to a big area, be sure to condense it here.”
Marilyn Ingram, nutrition educator at Vernon Parish Health Unit, lived here 23 years, originally from Las Vegas, NV
“Be positive and this area is what you make it. Enjoy the small things in life!”
Charro Freeman, sales rep for Southwest Beverage, lived here for 15 years, originally from Atlanta, GA.
“Fish, hunt, camp – enjoy Sportsman’s Paradise! The economy here is low so the best jobs are on post or offshore.”
Gerald Drake, owner of G&M Yard Service, former Seabee Navy Steel Worker 1st class, lived here for 30 years, originally from Lufkin TX
“My advice is to learn to appreciate the small things in life. There is not much entertainment here but there is a lot to love here if you can appreciate the simplistic nature that Vernon parish provides. We have a diverse culture and traditional foods to enjoy. Learn to expect a different type of weather daily and not to depend on the weatherman for an accurate forecast. Expect a small hometown with friendly people.”
Glenda George James, preK thru 6th grade SpecialEd teacher at Simpson High School, was born and raised in Leesville and has 21 years experience as a teacher with a master’s degree.
“This is a wonderful area to move to or retire to. We have the very best schools that provide excellent educational opportunities for students. Regardless of your religious background you can find a church that will fill your spiritual desires and provide great fellowship. Our area has great fishing and hunting opportunities for the outdoorsman. Our rural communities are made up of close knit people who look out for each other and provide neighborly services to each other. We are fortunate that we don’t have the crime issues that plague larger areas. Our crime rate is low and our local schools all have a deputy assigned to work to maintain a safe learning environment. These are just a few of the reasons that make our area a great place to live.”
Sam Craft, current Sheriff of Vernon Parish, originally from here.
“Get to know the locals; meaning, get out and see what the small town has to offer. Do not seclude yourself to Fort Polk. There are a plethora of things to do that the town tries to provide and affords opportunities to do.”
Lloyd Kersey, Army MSG (Retired), lived here for 7 years, originally from Baton Rouge, LA.
“I would say this area is what you make it, do some traveling inside and outside vernon parish, get to know the locals, find out our hidden treasures which include swim holes, to mom and pop restaurants, to hiking trails. My Dad’s retired military, I came to Ft.Polk 25 yrs ago, never left Louisiana since. This place has its good as well as its bad points it’s really all in what you make it.”
Shelby Cryer, owner/operator Groomingdales Pet Salon, lived here 25 years, originally from Titusville, Pennsylvania
“Show up with an open mind, don’t listen to other people. We have a training base, not a large city, but there is plenty to do in the surrounding areas.”
Gerald Moore, taxi driver, former Navy Operations Specialist 2nd Class E5, been here 37 years, originally from Pittsburg, CA
“Give Vernon Parish a chance. Be your own judge. We may not have some things that other places have, but we have some things others wish they had. Within 50 miles, countless recreational opportunities abound for you and your family to enjoy. From hiking in Kisatchie, to fishing on Vernon and Anacoco Lakes, to camping/fishing/tubing on Toledo Bend. If good food, fun, arts and crafts, and music is your thing, there’s always a festival close to home. There’s no better people anywhere who will help celebrate good times and comfort you in bad times. In addition, our school system consistently ranks in the top 6 in the state. If you give Vernon Parish a chance, there’s a good chance your time here will be filled with fond memories and friendships that last a lifetime. Who knows, you may even make us your ‘home’ like countless others have done over the years.”
Kenny Haymon, current Vernon Parish Police Juror for District 12, originally from here