Minden Press-Herald

Oct 01st

New police juror is simple man

There was a time that to be called "simple" was a good thing. It meant a person was forthright, steady and unfettered by hidden agenda. In those terms, Allen Gilbert is a self-described simple man.

"I'm just a regular, ordinary guy trying to learn the system," said Gilbert, who is the new Webster Parish police juror for District 2. "I'm not that big politician guy that stands up speaking. I don't need praise. I just want to help and try to make things better."

Born in Shreveport on Oct. 29 1962, Gilbert has lived his entire life in Springhill. He played basketball and ran track in high school, and after graduating went to work for International Paper.

He has now worked for the company for 28 years, first at the plywood mill in Cullen and then in a warehouse in Domino, Texas where he works now.

His said his character was not only formed from his dedication and loyalty to a single employer – something that is rare in today's working world – but was shaped by personal tragedy as well.

After a series of tragic deaths took his parents and two of his sisters, Gilbert found inspiration in how one sister handled her battle with cancer.

"She never was bitter," he said. "She was happy. She said 'Don't worry about me,' and she knew she had six months to live.

"That was amazing," Gilbert continued. "I think about them every day. I think about her every day because she made me stronger, made me a better man."

Hoping to retire at 55, Gilbert said he hopes to bring the same dedication of time, effort and loyalty to the police jury.

"I want to get involved with people and the community." Gilbert said. "Hopefully, (the police jury) will work out well for me, and I'll retire and do it full time."

He thought about running for almost a year. His predecessor, Jimmy Thomas is a friend and, according to him, Thomas was important in his decision to run.

"We sat there and we talked and talked," Gilbert said. "I asked him some questions about it and he said 'you'd be a good guy for the job, everybody likes you, you're a guy that's straight up. Just be that man.'

"I thought about it to make sure what I wanted to do, and I said 'okay, my mind's made up and my heart is there, so here I go,'" he continued.

Road improvement is at the top of his list of goals, along with improving his district's visual appeal.

"I was just trying to get my input in and see what I can do to help to make things better," Gilbert said. "To beautify my district, to make my district better.

"Mainly, my goal right now is to try and make Cullen better," he continued. "Cullen needs lots of help. I'm going to start there."

Helping children is a high priority, as well. Gilbert helps take some to their sporting events and has earned the name "Coach Kool-Aid," which is a variation of a nickname he earned in high school.

He said he believes in doing things 100 percent and wants to take that into his district.

"I believe you jump on your job and you start small and then you get on top of it," he said. "But if you keep letting it build up and build up, it causes a problem and it's always going to be a problem."

Whatever the outcome of his time in office, Gilbert said he wants to remain straightforward and genuine.

"As long as my heart is good and I can sleep at night, I'm happy with a smile. I am who I am, you know. That guy...Allen Gilbert."






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