Olivia LaHaye is the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Outstanding Master’s Graduate.
Alumnus Wayne Elmore knew that he would have to celebrate his wife’s birthday differently this year.
With the current status of our world, he decided to take this opportunity to give back. Wayne and his wife, Connie, are both alumni of the University and are avid supporters of the institution.
When Wayne realized that he wouldn’t be able to celebrate Connie’s birthday how they usually would, he decided to throw a birthday parade.
“I saw a small parade in the neighborhood and decided that was how [Connie] could see her friends and family,” said Wayne.
After hearing about friends donating to the University’s Student Emergency Fund and Campus Cupboard, Wayne thought he would take the celebration one step further and turn it into a fundraiser. As a student, Wayne himself utilized student emergency funds from the University.
“I know from personal experience just how important student emergency funds and a food pantry can be to a student,” said Wayne. So, he devised a plan that would surprise his wife Connie while also giving back to the institution that he loves.
Wayne, who is also the CEO/owner of Mello Joy Coffee, came up with the birthday fundraiser details. Mello Joy Coffee would donate $100 to the UL Lafayette Student Emergency Fund and Campus Cupboard for every car that drove by their house for Connie’s birthday parade.
After coordinating the logistics with representatives from the University, Wayne was ready to give Connie one of the best birthdays she had ever had.
On the day of Connie’s birthday, Wayne tried his hardest to act like everything was normal. Around lunchtime, Wayne mentioned to Connie their grandchildren were going to drive by and surprise her for her birthday. Little did Connie know that when she walked outside of her house, she would see not only her grandchildren but friends, family, and members of the UL Lafayette community.
In total, 62 cars participated in Connie’s birthday fundraiser parade. Members of the UL Lafayette community, friends, and family all took turns driving by the Elmore’s home to celebrate Connie.
In total, $6,200 was raised from the birthday fundraiser, as well as an extra $1,000 donated by friends and family. Connie was overjoyed by the celebration and loved finding out the purpose behind the fundraiser.
“When I realized it was not just a celebration for me but a fundraiser for UL Lafayette students, it made my birthday even more special,” said Connie.
The generosity showcased by Wayne and Connie Elmore is a testament to their goodwill, kind hearts, and Ragin’ Cajun pride. The University will forever be grateful for their continuous support.
In times of uncertainty and hardship, these acts of kindness are what truly bring our Ragin’ Cajun community together.
Photo Caption: Wayne and Connie Elmore on their front porch after the surprise birthday parade. Photo Credit: Courtney Bergeron/University of Louisiana at Lafayette