One deserving person each month will be chosen and earn the title of "Acadiana's Local Hero".
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Acadiana's Local Hero for June 2018 - Phyllis Berberich
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Hero Name: Phyllis Berberich

About our Acadiana Local Hero!

Why this finalist was deserving of Acadian's Local Hero.  
Mrs. Phyllis Berberich deserves to be an Acadiana Hero for many different reasons. I have been a coworker and friend of Mrs. Phyllis for over 20 years. Mrs. Phyllis gave 33 years to teaching students. After retiring from teaching, Mrs. Phyllis looked for something to do that would feel like she was still giving back. Many retirees, after teaching that many years, are ready to relax and do something for themselves—NOT Mrs. Phyllis. She began volunteering one day a week in the LeBlanc Elementary Library as a library clerk. This kept Mrs. Phyllis still interacting with children and providing assistance in a large school library. rnMrs. Phyllis’ faith has always been a HUGE part of her life. In 2015 “something” called her to take on a mission that not too many people would want to tackle. She was told of an idea to take old wedding dresses and create burial gowns and support for families who have lost an infant. She interviewed hospitals and did research to see if this type of service was readily available in our area—it was NOT, so Mrs. Phyllis began providing this service to these families in crisis. Since its creation this idea has grown to have a website, Facebook account, and a non-profit organization status in which is called Steps to Heaven. Even in Mrs. Phyllis’ personal life, when her house flooded in August 2016, she had wedding dresses safe and secure ready to be worked on. rnVolunteering at the library and creating infant burial gowns were still not enough. Mrs. Phyllis heard of a need that local hospitals had for “Cuddlers”. Hospitals needed people to rock babies in the NICU because of drug addiction, lack of families, families not able to visit for one reason or another, etc. Mrs. Phyllis felt the desire to add this to her already busy “retired” life. So each week she visits the NICU at Women’s and Children’s to cuddle and rock babies in need of LOVE. She has told me many times that this is her favorite part of her week. Just to rock and cuddle these innocent babies puts everything into perspective. During her time in the NICU, Mrs. Phyllis noticed that some tiny babies didn’t have baby gowns to fit them. She brought this idea to her Steps to Heaven ladies, and they decided to sew gowns for premature babies that cannot fit in items purchased in retail. All a family has to do is ask for assistance and Mrs. Phyllis and her ladies step into action to try and ease the challenges that these families are going through. rnA hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Mrs. Phyllis is definitely someone who has courage to accept a challenging mission and make the BEST out of it. Without Mrs. Phyllis and her outstanding achievements many families would not know where to turn when they are faced with tragedy. Mrs. Phyllis deserves to be an Acadian Hero!

How Phyllis's efforts have made a difference in the community for the better.  
Every day Mrs. Phyllis Berberich makes an effort to help others in need. When she hears of a need, she seeks information to help. Her organization has donated 122 infant burial gowns to local hospitals and Haiti. Along with burial gowns, it donates a Holy Land Stone angel to families in remembrance. She also has donated 209 NICU day gowns to a local hospital. Another request of her organization is to crochet isolate blankets which provides darkness essential for the premature babies’ growth and development. Hundreds of families already have been impacted by this woman’s desire to help others.

How becoming Acadiana's Local Hero will further Phyllis's cause.  
Since 2015, 231 day gowns, 156 crocheted pocket blankets, 111 fabric pocket blankets, 292 burial gowns, 150 keepsake crocheted pillows, 159 fabric crocheted pillows, 63 crocheted caps, and 9 flannel pocket blanket sets have been created for FAMILIES in CRISIS by Steps to Heaven. Our community is such that when someone is doing good things we have a tendency to want to help too. I feel with more recognition of what Mrs. Phyllis is doing, others in our AMAZING community could lend a hand. Just imagine how many more families we could help out!

Please share Phyllis's great work with all of your friends and donate to her organization by clicking on the links below.


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