Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series which checks in on individuals who grew up in the Leesville area to find out what they have been up to.
How many students can walk out of their home and view all three schools they will be attending for the next 12 years? Gordon “Gordy” Monk could.
Growing up on North First Street, each school day, Gordy walked past East Leesville Elementary, the Junior High, and Leesville High as well. “Heck,” said Gordy, “I even walked to LHS after I got my own car.”
Gordy and his sister Shelia were born in Leesville to Hubert and Hollis Monk.
A 1974 honor graduate of Leesville High, Gordy attended Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, receiving his Bachelor of Science in 1978 and a Masters of Public Administration in 1984.
While at LSU, he met his wife Debbie, a Texan, at a fraternity-sorority exchange. This October they will celebrate their 37th anniversary.
Debbie, who has a Computer Science degree and a MBA from LSU has worked at the ExxonMobil Refinery since graduation.
Gordy and Debbie are the parents of 25-year-old triplets. Donald works for Fluor in Lake Charles, Meredith works for the LSU Board of Supervisors, and Steve is in his third year of Medical School at Vanderbilt. Steve played football for Vanderbilt until a concussion ended his career; which sparked his interest in Neurosurgery.
“Having three wonderful children (especially at the same time) is by far the most rewarding and challenging thing in my life,” Gordy said.
While in graduate school, Gordy began his career with a fellowship at the Louisiana Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) in August of 1979 and remained in that office until his recent retirement.
Along the way he also served as a fiscal analyst, section direction, staff director and was elected by the membership of the Senate and House of Representatives as Legislative Fiscal Officer in 2005.
The LFO consists of twenty staff members who are primarily analysts, economists, and administrators.
Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, said Monk's tenure has been marked by professionalism and integrity.
"He has been a tremendous asset," said Alario, elected in 1971 and one of a handful of lawmakers who was around when Monk started work as a student. "He gets the information you need to make a decision.
"He is a straight-shooter. He never played politics... Gordon never seemed to be going looking for the limelight,” Alario said.
“I saw the job as a way to help our governmental leaders develop sound policies to move our state forward,” Gordy said. He devoted much of his time assisting the leaders from Vernon, Sabine, and Beauregard Parish.
In retirement, Gordy is active in the Baton Rouge First United Methodist Church where he serves on the Finance Committee and as the Sunday School Co-Director.
Never to be idle, his is also active in the LSU Master of Public Administration Colloquium and currently serves on its Advisory Board.
Not surprisingly, this stellar graduate was named in 2008 as LSU’s Master of Public Administration Alumnus of the Year.
He and Debbie attend many LSU sporting events, often visiting with Anacoco High School graduate Jim Hawthorne, “The Voice of the Fighting Tigers.”
Of the many fond memories Gordy has of growing up in Leesville, among his favorites are of his parents, the most influential people in my life.” As the owners and operators of Monk Texaco, their hard work and perseverance were traits that Gordy and his sister Sheila would deeply value and grow to emulate.
Many of Gordy’s friendships began in elementary school. Among them, his relationships with John Malcolm Smart, Ken Hughes, Eddie Kilman and others endure to this day.
He is still friends with is LHS buddies, Albert Sherril, Danny Turick, Steve Coffman, Ricky McRae, Julio Toro and others.
Living near Fort Polk afforded Gordy the opportunity to make many lasting friendships with students whose families served in the military or in civilian jobs.
Looking back on all those formative years, Gordy reflects, “I have wonderful memories of growing up in Leesville. I have oftentimes told my children that I would not trade my childhood and the education that I got in Leesville for anything.
“We had excellent teachers at all level. Not just skilled instructors, just role models. The small town upbringing and the close knit community in which I grew up is something I still cherish to this day.”
When asked what his advice to youth living in Vernon Parish today might be, Gordy replied, “Follow your dreams. Get as much education as you can, whether it is the college track or technical training.
“Our State needs skilled and trained workers in all areas of employment.”
Billy Crawford is presently retired after serving 40-plus years in Louisiana public education, with 28 of them in Vernon Parish. Recently he has enjoyed reconnecting with former students, friends and colleagues who have roots in the Leesville area and now live elsewhere. He has found their life’s path interesting, informative, and most of all, inspiring.