The First Time I met Butch Williams was at a local civic gathering. Speaking to members of the Minden Lions Club, the then Lakeside High principal expounded upon the importance and difficulties of building a new school in South Webster Parish.
He spoke of pride, taking care of what we own and having a passionate concern about the future of our children.
He was genuine with his remarks, and I remember thinking he really did care. Yes, Butch Williams cared deeply about his students, his schools.
He helped Sibley move out of a decrepit red bricked building into a school that was the envy of systems near and far. That's why he was such a perfect fit to lead the Webster Parish School System.
In 2003, following 25 years at Sibley, Williams moved from a South Webster office to the Central Office over on Sheppard Street here in Minden.
His time as schools chief was eventful and quite memorable. He accomplished much as all parish schools have been remodeled or renovated during his time.
Superintendent, principal, coach, teacher. Butch is all of these things, and he exemplifies the positive influence a fine educator can have on today's youth.
A skilled educator is more than a person standing in front of a classroom droning on while the students daydream about their time following class.
A good teacher is more than a person who comes to work to simply pull a paycheck. A good teacher is more than a person who tells the students to turn to a page and read quietly so as to allow the time to pass more quickly.
There is a fine characteristic, which is sometimes undetectable to students, that constitutes the makings of a good teacher.
A quality teacher cares about the students who come through the doors of the school every day. A good teacher works extended hours, long past 3 p.m., to prepare for what is to come.
It may seem that caring is not enough, yet when a person cares so much more comes from the heart. Along with a caring soul, comes a work ethic that will allow the bearer to go the extra mile.
Along with a caring soul comes the dedication to see every job through to its end.
Butch Williams saw every job through. In four decades within our school system he touched countless lives. He was a role model for other teachers and administrators. His job was not easy as anyone who has worked in the public service world can tell you.
Yet he was calm and tactful when others around him lost their cool.
In a profile that published last week, Williams told the Press-Herald that he was extremely proud to be able to contribute to the Webster Parish education system.
"From doctors to nurses and teachers and vets and so many other achievements by the students, their success makes me so proud," he said.
You, Superintendent Williams, played a huge role in those success stories. Your shoes will be quite large in the filling.
We thank you. May God bless you.
May God keep you.