St. Martinville Man Proves One Person Can Make A Difference
He has eyes that sparkle and a smile that would make you feel warm on the coldest December day. When he speaks, his voice is painted with a rich slathering of South Louisiana heritage. He is George Choplin and for more than 20 years he has secretly been one of my heroes.
George has been the caretaker and coordinator of the St. Martinville Christmas Parade for the past 23 years. If you did not hear, that parade was cancelled because it was just too expensive to safely roll.
In a story on KATC.com George told Micah Hatfield that he had a very personal relationship with this parade.
It was almost like an infant, you know. It was my infant when I got it and now she is 23-years-old now and she's moving on.
Maybe it isn't the parade that George seems to love so much, maybe it is St. Martinville. Every time he speaks you can hear the pride and love for his community in every syllable. You can feel his love of tradition and can't help but be caught up in this quiet and gentle man's Christmas Spirit.
There was never an entry fee charged to participate in the St. Martinville Christmas Parade. Families, businesses, church groups, neighborhood groups, almost any kind of group was welcome to be a part of this splendid community event.
George and the many giving members of the Kiwanis Club made everyone who participated feel special. Whether you were fortunate enough to be in the parade or just had the chance to watch, George and his Kiwanis club members were always so grateful for those who made the parade a part of their plans.
I asked George one time if he had actually ever had the chance to see one of his parades. He told me that he hadn't. He said maybe one day he would but he was having too much fun making sure that everyone in his community had a reason to smile at Christmastime.
George Choplin is one of the good guys. He's living proof that one person can make a difference. For more than 23 years George made his difference on a Sunday afternoon in downtown St. Martinville. His mission was to share the love and joy of the Christmas Season with his friends, neighbors, and total strangers because that's what you do when St. Martinville is the place that you call home.