OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) – Pat Mason-Guillory has served her community in more ways than one. One of her passions is helping veterans in her parish.
Pat Mason-Guillory was born and raised in Melville, raised by her mother as one of six children. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and later went on to work for the St. Landry Parish School System, the same place where she retired after 46 years in education. She is now the project director of St. Landry Parish Veterans Memorial.
She said, “My son and my daughter both attended Grambling State University, but my son’s first year there, he was fine. He wasn’t doing so well in the second year, and he’s going to kill me for telling this story, but I told him, I said, ‘I’m going to put you in the army.'”
Pat’s son, Raymond Scott Morgan, did his basic training in Georgia in 1988. It was in 1990, when she received a phone call from him. “I’ll never forget the phone call that I got when he told me that he was leaving for Saudi Arabia,” she said. “He says, ‘Momma, I cannot talk.’ He said, ‘I broke line. I’m leaving for Saudi Arabia’ and my heart just dropped and I just waited, and I waited, and I waited.”
Pat organized a support group called MASH or Mothers Against Saddam Hussein. Pat and about 12 other mothers sent care packages to their sons in Saudi Arabia as they were part of ‘Operation Desert Storm.’ Her son and the other soldiers returned home safe in 1991.
“In January 2004, I received the phone call about Staff Sergeant Craig Davis whose mother was Clara Davis at the time and I was asked what I was going to do about it,” Pat explained.
St. Landry Parish had lost their first fallen hero in the Iraq War. He was the only child and had served 24 years in the U.S. Army. Pat met his mother, Ms. Davis, and knew from that moment, something had to be done. Pat said, “In the meantime, I was asked to come up with a task to honor all military personnel. I had no idea it was going to become as big as it is. I think it was just God’s way of putting me in a position where I can be a servant to others.”
Pat organized a committee and came up with a plan of constructing a veterans memorial. All the while, also hosting prayer vigils for four more fallen soldiers. On September 10, 2014, St. Landry Parish Veterans Memorial was dedicated.
“As I look back on my life, it was meant to be,” added Pat. “As I reflect back on all the people that I have been privileged to be part of their lives, I give thanks to God because it has made me better and I am still working towards becoming a better person everyday.”
Pat Mason-Guillory’s goal for 2023 is to construct a Welcome Center near the Veteran’s Memorial. Her selfless attitude is shown through her works of volunteerism and service to the people of St. Landry Parish. She says her service to others and the parish in which she lives never ends.