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Delta Longbeards hosts dinner to help fund area projects

FERRIDAY — With temperatures cold and local prep games postponed, the Concordia Parish Community Building was a good place to be with family Friday night.

The Concordia Delta Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation hosted its annual banquet at the community building, with 270 tickets pre-sold for the event.

And the recipients of those tickets kept coming through the door Friday night, chapter President Lisa Smith said.

“We have a very strong chapter here,” Smith said. “We have 14 committee members who do a great job. Each one of them has their own perks, some in getting sponsors, some with selling, that kind of thing.”

The dinner featured 50 sponsors and included a live auction silent auction, raffles and 22 guns on display for chapter members to see.

“All of this goes toward our Louisiana super fund, and will help sponsor things like our Wheelin’ Sportsman hunt we had in January and our annual scholarship.”

This year’s $500 chapter scholarship was awarded to senior Ashley Forman, who will attend the University of Louisiana-Monroe in the fall as a nursing major.

“This is really an honor for me,” Forman said. “I’m just really excited.”

Candidates for the scholarship are limited to high school seniors with a 3.0 GPA or above who fill out applications and write an essay. Forman will also have the chance to compete for more NWTF scholarships at the state and national level. The state scholarship is worth $1,500 and the national scholarship $10,000.

“I’ll use this to go into nursing,” Forman said. “I like helping people, and I’d like to see how it feels to maybe change someone’s life.”

In addition to scholarship money, funds being raised will also help with several projects at Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge, which hosted the Wheelin’ Sportsman hunt in January.

“This chapter helps us out a lot,” said Deisha Norwood, Bayou Cocodrie’s refuge manager. “It’s convenient having them close by.”

Potential improvements include making the hunter check station building bigger and making its parking lot bigger, Norwood said. The chapter also plans to help with habitat improvement projects.

“They’re helping give back,” Norwood said. “This chapter is such a good one because everyone knows everyone, and they know their money is going toward a good cause.”

And Smith said the local events and projects the chapter helps with is also why members have such confidence when they donate.

“When we do those events, they see what it’s going toward,” Smith said. “It’s us letting them know we’re using the money here (in Concordia). That matters a lot.”

Smith said she wanted to encourage people to begin inquiring about next year’s $500 scholarship. She can be reached at 318-729-8304.

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