Sulphur native Leroy Ballou, Jr., left his hometown at the age of 17, but his love for the city remains strong after 50 years away.
On Thursday, Ballou made his first trip of many with a trailer packed with donations from several Texas cities to the Knights of St. Peter Claver #108 Hall on Maple Street. Paper products, hand sanitizer, plastic tubs, cleaning supplies, food items and furniture will be stored and distributed from that location to members of the community to assist them with recovery from the recent hurricanes.
This isn’t the first time Ballou has traveled home with help. After Hurricane Laura, he hauled donations to the Sulphur Senior Center on Maple Street to be distributed to the local elderly. Those supplies came primarily from the mayor of Mont Bellvieu, Texas, where Ballou resides.
Ballou’s church parish, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, provided the hand sanitizer delivered Thursday. H.E.B. grocery store in Beaumont donated paper products and cleaning supplies along with plastic tubs. Ballou said recipients can fill up a plastic tub and write their name on it. H.E.B. will refill those tubs when needed.
Food and some furniture donations came from the Mother of Mercy Catholic Charities in Beaumont and the rest of the furniture was donated by Ballou’s acquaintances. As Ballou sat inside the KC Hall, he recalled serving as an altar boy and a junior Knight in his youth. He said his father, Leroy Ballou, Sr., still “lives just up the road.”
Ballou plans to return next week with more beds, a living room set and some bikes for children. He said his personal storage building is packed with donated items.