A recognition ceremony for the 2019 Natchitoches Treasures was held Oct. 25 to honor Johnnie Emmons, Jack McCain Jr., John Dale Ropp, and the late Cynthia Sutton.
The ceremony highlighted the contributions made to the City of Natchitoches and the community by each newly elected Treasure, as well as pay tribute to those individuals named as Natchitoches Treasures in years past. The Natchitoches Treasures are an elite group of Natchitoches residents of retirement age who have made a lasting contribution to the community through their generosity, service, volunteerism and spirit.
A new addition to the ceremony is the installation of a photo wall which will feature information and names of Natchitoches Treasures in the hallway of the Events Center. Sharon Gahagan presented Mayor Lee Posey with a photo of the 1776 House, owned by the late Carolyn Wells. The photo shows the iconic front yard filled with spider lilies in bloom. Posey said it felt right that the photo should be added to the new Natchitoches Treasures display in the Events Center.
The Natchitoches Treasures were selected by a committee of those who have previously been named as a Natchitoches Treasure. Natchitoches Treasures have been selected each year since 2008. The treasures are selected from nominations received from members of the community.
Johnnie Emmons son, Johnnie, accepted the award on his father’s behalf. Coach Emmons is one of the most iconic athletic figures at Northwestern State University. He came from Mansfield and was a football and baseball star. He also competed in track and field.
McCain has dedicated a lifetime of service to the Natchitoches community. He’s worked hard to make it a better place to live for all, serving 24 years on the City Council. He also served as President of the Chamber of Commerce, as a member of the Council on Aging board, and still serves on the 911 and Airport Commission boards.
Ropp’s community service has been part of an outstanding lifestyle. He’s an amazing Christian man who gives all of his effort every day to help others in every way.
Rebecca Blankenbaker accepted the award on her predecessor and mentor’s behalf. While Sutton wasn’t a native of Natchitoches she truly felt it was her home. Through her work at the Cane River National Heritage Area she advocated for the city’s history, living culture and traditions.