Lady is A Champ
Yvonne spends her time helping Tallulah overcome
I met Yvonne Lewis while working at the Madison Journal in Tallulah. She was employed elsewhere at the time and had the occasion to visit me in the office. Immediately, I recognized the talent; drive and passion the lady had for her work and for the community. It took me several times, but eventually she relented and came on board at the newspaper. In our three years together, we developed a bond that continues to this day. She taught me respect; perspective and responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of others. Her Life hasn’t always been a bed of roses, either, and she puts God in the forefront of her ability to overcome.
Here are #7Q’s on the Kron for Yvonne
#1 – How excited are you in your new position at the City of Tallulah?
Rarely do people have the opportunity to help make lasting change in a city. I wake up every day excited about what I can do to help what’s been described as the poorest city in Louisiana. It helps to have a solid working relationship with a boss who trusts my instincts and decisions. I would have never expected to be in the position but now that I am here, I understand that everything I learned before was necessary to know for this position.
#2 – What are some of the accomplishments Mayor Branch has done in his short time in office?
I’m proud of what our team has accomplished since Mayor Branch’s election. First and foremost we, as a team, successfully navigated state funding and secured $22M for a new water plant. To ensure that Tallulah didn’t have to pay one penny for the plant, Branch also secured a waiver for the 20% match most municipalities normally have to come up with. While he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for it, in ten years when that new plant is in operation and no one is concerned about the quality of water, what we did will stand as evidence of making a real difference. In addition to upgrading infrastructure (sewer, heavy duty equipment, etc) Branch is currently negotiating, with the help of federal legislators, a $45M Industrial Parkway package. The city owns 250 acres of prime interstate land. Branch is looking to build an Intermodal Parkway on the land, which could potentially bring 600 jobs to the area.
#3 – How did you wind up in Tallulah.
I came to Tallulah to visit to get away from Vegas and to visit family. I wasn’t planning on staying, however, I liked the atmosphere and the change of scenery so I decided to give it a shot.
#4 – I know it’s painful, but could you share your experience with domestic abuse and how it almost cost you your Life?
It’s a lot easier to talk about now than it was when it happened. I’m a gun crime and domestic violence survivor. Basically I was kidnapped by a boyfriend I was trying to break up with. I managed to escape but not without sustaining four gunshot wounds. The doctor told me that I should have died. I remember specifically him saying “There must be something else you have to do.” Remarkably I left the hospital after only 10 hours. Three of the four bullets went in and out. One is still in to this day. The doctor told me I’d be like an old war hero with the bullet in me. His attempt at humor but it was much appreciated at the time. What I remember most about the whole incident is the fact that I knew if I didn’t try and get out of that car that I was going to die. The instinct for survival is tremendous. Without it, I wouldn’t have had the nerve to jump out and try and get away. It’s what saved my life. The whole thing turned my life upside down and I went through a tremendous downward spiral. Moving to Louisiana was also a lifesaver. I think that’s probably why I am who I am today. I’m so appreciative of God sparing my life, watching me spiral and handing me another chance, which I grabbed at with all my might. I’m grateful for his grace and mercy.
#5 – Who are your role models and inspiration?
I’ve got an eclectic list of role models. Obviously my parents who gave me a very good life. The woman who trained me in Public Relations, Sarah Ralston, is who I try and model a lot of what I do after. She was savvy but not enough so where she wouldn’t ask for advice and help. And Mike Ensign, who was the Chairman of Mandalay Resort Group in Las Vegas. Both he and Sarah opened up a world that I would have never known. But they were two of the most down to earth people you’d ever know.
#6 – What are your hobbies?
Well, if you’d asked me that question 5 years ago I would have said, reading and travelling. Today however, I shoot pool whenever and wherever I can and I love to fish. Who knew there was a country girl inside of me?
#7 – If possible, how would you change the world to make it a better place for all of us?
I think if people in general had more empathy for one another we would be in a better place. The unnecessary fear and hatred of people you don’t even know is just stupid. I’m happy that I had a chance to live a military life. It introduced me to people and places I would have never known and I’m sure that lifestyle shaped the person I am today. If I could change one thing, it would be more compassion for one another in this world.
Follow Up – I have asked this on a couple occasions; but, who are you supporting in the 2016 election.
I don’t know who I’m going to vote for. I’m researching more on the candidates outside of the Dems and GOP. I won’t be supporting Trump that’s for sure.
Final Follow Up – How is the hospital – an entity you and I reported on in detail – operating these days for the people of Madison Parish and Tallulah?
The hospital in Madison Parish has turned the corner, literally. They are operating solvent after being raped to the tune of $6M. After finally putting the appropriate person in charge, he’s managed to turn the tide and they are actually now in a position where they are talking with USDA about funds for a new facility. The whole hospital ordeal showed me that if you have the right leadership in place anything is possible. We were that close to losing this hospital which would have devastated this city. I’m proud to say that the Madison Journal was an integral part in keeping the hospital here. We reported the hard facts, we kept those who needed to be on their P&Q’s and we brought in the cavalry (bank lenders, etc) when needed so that everything possible was done to save that hospital.
Yvonne Lewis lives in Tallulah, La., helping change Lives one day at a time.
ALLRIGHTSRESERVED:KpKronicleLLC ~ Kevin Pritchett