KROTZ SPRINGS, La. – A St. Landry Parish town is celebrating one student's accomplishments.
The mayor of Krotz Springs declared May 29, 2021, Jacob Laborde Day to celebrate his recent graduation from Port Barre High. His grandmother said he received a standing ovation when he received his diploma.
Jacob has cerebral palsy and always wanted to be a firefighter.
The mayor, police chief, and fire chief were there to present Jacob with a plaque. Jacob then rode on a firetruck in a parade through the town, and also made a stop at the fire station for a quick ride in an ambulance.
"I figured we would do something for him he had always had a dream of being a firefighter and so I figured we'd get our fire department to give him a ride today and let him squirt some water from the fire truck and just try and make it his day today," Carroll Snyder, Mayor of Krotz Springs. "You could see the look on his face whenever he was standing next to that firefighter. All he kept saying was, 'Thank you, thank you, let's go!' I like seeing the excitement in his eyes."
Jacob's grandmother, Martha Volker, said she even reached out to the LSU Marching Band to see if they'd perform for the celebration, but, she laughed, that wasn't possible.
"But he's that big in all of our eyes," she added. "We all want him to know how much he's treasured and loved."
Volker explained that her grandson is well known around town, and people often wave and say hi to him when they see him in the grocery store. She invited one of Jacob's former aides and his former school bus driver, saying that it's often the people whose role in Jacob's life may have seemed insignificant that actually were a major part of it.
"It's not just about us and Jacob, it's kind of like a thank you to all those people," she said. And at the end of the day, Volker's message to her grandson was simple, but strong: love.
"I love you bigger than the whole wide world, and I'll go to the ends of the earth for you. Doesn't matter the physical defects, I've got my own ... in the end, we're no different from someone else. And today he's going to know just how much each and every one of us love him."
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