ARNAUDVILLE, La. — A jambalaya benefit was held Friday for the family of Ernest Williams, of Arnaudville.
Williams was on board the Seacor Power when it capsized last week and is one of six crew members whose bodies have been recovered.
The staff at Brookdale Lafayette Senior Living say Williams' stepdaughter Tanya Jasman has worked there as a Certified Nursing Assistant for more than a year, and when they found out about Williams, they decided to show their support.
Cars lined up in front of Brookdale, as plates of jambalaya were bagged up. As his wife of 33 years tells us, Williams loved to cook for his family and took pride in the meals he made. Now, friends and strangers are using their best cooking skills to take care of the ones he left behind.
Williams' wife told us he had just finished a nine-day shift when Captain David Ledet of the Seacor Power reached out to him and asked him to come cook for the crew. He told his wife, "I've got to go cook for God's people, I've got to do what I do."
His body was recovered by the Coast Guard in the water near Cocodrie during rescue operations on Thursday April 15.
"He was a great man," said Rosalinz Hayes, Health and Wellness Director and Clinical Director at Brookdale. "Even though we never got to meet him, we see the fruit of his labor in what Mrs. Tanya brings to our community."
Plates were $10 each. Donations were also accepted. In all, $3,700 was raised for Williams' family, while $500 was raised for the United Cajun Navy's search efforts.
"Thank you for everything you donated to make this a success," Hayes said in a message to the community. "To just show our employee that you don't have to be a part of the Brookdale culture to care. Hands across the U.S., hands across Lafayette. That's what I'm seeing."
A GoFundMe has also been set up for the Williams family. To make a donation, click here.
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