“You know, you’ve really never done anything until you can do something for someone that can never repay you.”
Think about that for a minute. Allen Lenard has. He said it.
Lenard, who lives in Ouachita Parish, serves in the Cajun Navy. He was recently named Sportsman of the Year at the Louisiana Chapter of the Legends of the Outdoors banquet. He doesn’t hunt deer. He doesn’t bass fish. He heroes.
Doing something for someone who can never repay you means taking your own time, money and equipment, putting your own personal safety at risk and helping others. Wading through floodwaters, climbing on a roof, chopping a hole in it and pulling somebody out to save their life. Driving hours to climb in your airboat or paddle your aluminum boat through neighborhoods you’ve never seen before rescuing people and pets. Over and over and over again. Without reward. Doing it for people that don’t know your name that you will never see again.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Traveler, volunteer, adventurer. Cajun Navy USA“ — Allen Lenard on Instagram.
His own words explain it, but they don’t do justice to what Lenard and the Cajun Navy do. Not traditional sportsmen for sure, but sportsmen on another level. They are heroes that do things for people who can never repay. They do it for the most basic of reasons. Allen quotes “Mister Rogers” of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” to help us understand.
“We watch TV daily and the media tells us the world is full of hate and loneliness. Don’t look in Hollywood, Washington or the Country Club. Look at the catastrophes and disasters we face in this world. That’s where you see the purest form of love and unity. I think this may be why I feel so comfortable in the midst of these crisis. For a brief time there is no fighting, politics, hate, anger, resentment or self. It’s hard to explain. but if you ever get the opportunity to experience this, it’ll change your life for eternity.
The humble Lenard was even hesitant to even accept this award. But when he was told this might just inspire others, especially young people, to follow in his footsteps, he did it without question.
His friend, Stewart Cathey, Jr., introduced him at the banquet and told of some of his activities. Lenard has participated in every major natural disaster since Katrina. He was given a standing ovation. Back in July, Allen was featured on a Cajun Navy documentary on the Discovery Channel. He became known nationally when he pulled the mother of a famous major league baseball player out of her flooded attic, saving her life.
He almost didn’t make it to the local Legends banquet. He spent the week before in the Bahamas, where he flew with fellow volunteers and supplies to the people of that area after Hurricane Dorian. He returned home Friday and went to the banquet on Saturday. A few days later, he was off again to the Houston area where Tropical Depression Imelda hit that area hard.
Lenard is a farmer and works in the oil field services industry. He loves traveling just for fun. But his real passion is fueled by his love for his fellow man and this country, ingrained deeply in his life by his Christian faith.
“You know this country was built by people of all economic backgrounds, race, education, all banding together for the good of their neighbor. I just hope we haven’t forgotten that’s the true essence of the American Dream,” he said.
Allen Lenard. Farmer. Traveler, volunteer, adventurer. Cajun Navy USA. Sportsman of the Year – Absolutely.
And, oh yes, Hero.