Simmesport businessman and civic leader Tommy Maddie has been named Avoyellean of the Year 2009.

The announcement came on Thursday morning, April 22, when past honorees of the award gathered to make the presentation at an Avoyelles Port Commission meeting being held at Rosie T’s Diner in Simmesport.

Maddie was chosen from several dozen Avoyelles Parish residents who were nominated for the annual award, which is sponsored by the Avoyelles Journal. The award is given annually to a person who has done outstanding work to improve life in Avoyelles Parish.

Maddie’s wife, Cindy Laborde Maddie; his mother Gladys Maddie; three daughters, Lindsey Dauzat, Brooke Dauzat and Natalie Maddie; and granddaughter, Jordan Stout, age 5; and other family members were tipped off in advance, and many were in attendance at the surprise presentation. Joe Elder of Marksville, last year’s recipient, read Maddie's nomination and presented to him a plaque in the shape of Avoyelles.

Maddie was greatly moved by the presentation, and accepted the award as family and friends surrounded him.

“I’m honored to get the award and honored to be in a select group of people who have received this award,” Maddie said as he accepted the award. “This award goes to the people of Avoyelles Parish and to the members of the Avoyelles Port Commission. The hard work was done by a group of people and the community and not just me.”

Maddie also singled out Dr. Don Hines, Marc Dupuy Jr and Gene Britton for being instrumental in getting funding for the port. Dr. Hines was a state senator while Dupuy and Britton served on the Red River Commission.

He added the Port Commission is hopeful to make more announcements in the coming months concerning the possible location of companies at the port.

Maddie became emotional when he talked about his family and they have stood by him during the long hard work on the Avoyelles Port Commission.

Shane Carmichael of Magnaville gave Maddie more praise than just his wok on the Port Commission. “This award goes to Tommy as a person and not just his work on the commission,” Carmichael explained to Maddie and everyone. “I hope you understand just how great a person you are and that is why I am fighting to keep Magnaville here.”

Carmichael added that Canadian Business, a popular new magazine in Canada is doing a story on Magnaville and its founder Frank Stranch. The story also mentions the work of Maddie and how he has helped the group in Simmesport.

Past honorees of the award who attended the presentation included Glenn Goudeau, Marc Dupuy, Jr., Lucien Laborde, Dr. Don Hines, Joe Elder, Carlos A. Mayeux, Jr., and A.J. Roy III.

Maddie is chairman of the Avoyelles Port Commission. He was nominated for the Avoyellean of the Year award by Henry Moreau of Simmesport who is a fellow board member on the port commission. The nomination read as follows:

“I would like to nominate Tommy Maddie of Simmesport for Avoyellean of the Year 2009.

“After being elected to the Avoyelles Parish Police Jury in 1992, he was co-instrumental in the re-activation process of the Avoyelles Port Commission. After initiating that process, Tommy really began the push for economic development for Avoyelles Parish. He put in countless hours, weeks, months, and years making phone calls, attending meetings around the state, gathering facts, statistics, etc. All of this was on his own time and expense due to the fact that the port commission had no funding source.

“Being a persistent and patient man, Tommy was able to obtain funding for the first phase of infrastructure for the port located in Simmesport. Funding was obtained from the state of Louisiana, Red River Waterway Commission, Avoyelles Parish Policy Jury, private individuals, and federal grants. This 4.5 million dollar project to date has only cost our parish $150,000.

“At the present time the port has a contract with Helena Chemical Company for the off-loading of liquid fertilizer. Tommy has many other prospects interested in locating at the port which has the potential to create jobs for the people of Avoyelles Parish.

“Tommy works on this project on a daily basis. There have been many ups and downs along the way but through the support of the parish, port commission, and his family he was able to make this project materialize.

“In addition, Tommy is active in many other civic and community projects. While serving on the Police Jury, he donated four years of salary to youth programs in his district. I feel he would be very deserving of this honor.”

Maddie started a convenience store in 1982 and built Rosie T’s Diner and Casino in 2001. He was also the owner of Car Quest in Simmesport and Marksville before he sold them.

He is also on the Cottonport Bank Board of Directors, Avoyelles Parish Library Board and a past board member of Avoyelles Hospital. He is a Jaycee member and Christ the King Catholic Church council member.

=========== Past winners of the Avoyellean of the Year Award have been: 1968 Rev. Adrian Molenschot 1969 Eleanor Gremillion 1976 Verdie Bielkewicz Lemoine 1977 Judge Earl Henry Edwards 1978 Raymond J. Laborde 1979 A. J. Sookie Roy 1980 Warren Constant 1981 Carlos A. Mayeux, Jr. 1982 Rev. Earl Provenza 1983 Marion Roy 1984 Marion Gremillion 1985 Dr. F. P. Bordelon, Jr. 1986 Marc Dupuy, Jr. 1987 William Belt, sheriff 1988 Eddie Rabalais 1989 Aggie Neck 1990 Jo Hamilton 1991 Lucien Laborde 1992 Dr. Richard Michel 1993 Earl J. Barbry 1994 Louise Coco Schneider 1995 Sen. Don H. Hines, M. D. 1996 Rev. Bill Provosty 1997 Faye Escude Truex 1998 Gen. Sherian Cadoria, Ret. US Army 1999 Steve Mayeux 2000 Julie C. Durand 2001 Sammy Couvillon 2002 Harold Quebedeaux 2003 L. J. Mayeux, Jr. M.D. 2004 Mary Chatelain 2005 A. J. Roy, III 2006 Edmond St. Romain 2007 Glenn Goudeau 2008 Joe Elder

For a more inforation about past recipients of the Avoyellean of the Year award visit: Avoyelleans of the Year