Mr. Graham Kramer was honored as the recipient of the St. Vincent de Paul Humanitarian Award and four others received the Diocesan Distinguished Service Award during the 2023 Brunch with the Bishop held Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Country Inn Suites in Pineville.
Brunch with the Bishop is held to recognize people throughout the diocese who volunteer their time and/or talents to their church to and to help others in need.
Mr. Don Brevelle is a member of St. Genevieve Catholic Church in Brouillette. He is retired from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and a U.S. Army veteran. Mr. Brevelle is a member of the Knights of Columbus, is Parish Council President, ACTS Retreat director,
Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Lector and Director of CCD.
When asked what doing works of charity means to him, Mr. Brevelle responded: “I hope that others can see what we are doing and want to help spread God’s word, following in our footsteps.”
Mrs. Betsy Crigler is a member of St. Joseph Church in St. Joseph, LA. Mrs. Crigler serves on the parish council, is a Lector, Eucharistic Minister of Holy Communion and a CCD teacher. She is also a member of the Altar Society and volunteers for various events.
When asked what doing works of charity means to her, Mrs. Crigler responded: “I believe we were put on this earth to serve God and others and I feel when someone is in need I should help no matter who the person is. I love 1 John 3:17 – if anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person. Coming from a family of seven, we were taught early on to always help those in need.”
Mrs. Elizabeth Kaye Dalton is a member of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Campti. She is a Lector, Trustee, a member of the Parish Pastoral Council, President of the Ladies Auxiliary and a CCD teacher.
When asked what doing works of charity means to her, Mrs. Dalton said: “Works of charity helps me to see God’s plans and to help me see how he works in my life and how he accomplishes it through us. It is so humbling and rewarding knowing you are helping others to see the love God has for us who needs his mercy.
At the early age of 12 years old, I was introduced to the Catholic religion and church. I was Protestant and had never heard of either. The moment I walked into the Nave of the Church, I was overcome with the feeling of reverence present and deserving! What is this, I thought!? I had never experienced this feeling before! I still have this same feeling as I enter the Catholic Church today! It was God’s Holy Spirit surrounding me! … I am very blessed that I am here to do his work and to help others in sharing their lives with Our Lord and God.”
Mrs. Belinda Guillory is a member of St. Rita Church in Alexandria. She is a Parish Council member, a Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, chairperson of the Bereavement Committee, past president of the Altar and Rosary Society, choir member, and volunteers for Steubenville South, Wednesday Night Suppers, Sunday collections counter, and various other fund raisers.
When asked what doing works of charity means to her, Mrs. Guillory said: “I am very blessed and thankful to be able to help anyone who is in more need than myself.
I was taught early in life that following the Christian teachings that God lives in each of us, we must have FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE for each other.
Ephesians 2:10 says, ‘We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’ We serve and volunteer confidently, knowing that God has prepared the way for us!”
Graham Kramer was born July 10, 1939, the second son of Casper Kramer, Jr. and Virginia Stafford Kramer. Graham was born into an establishment of now five generations of Kramers, of John Kramer and Son, the oldest continuous single family-owned business in Alexandria started in 1875. From a very early age, he came to understand the values of empathy and compassion, and support of the most marginalized among us.
Educated at Providence Academy and Our Lady of Prompt Succor Elementary Schools, Graham was graduated from Menard Memorial High School in 1957, and continued his education at Springhill College in Mobile, Alabama, gaining a degree in Accounting and Philosophy in 1961. In 1966, he completed training at the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service. For four years, Graham served in the United States Navy on the ship the USS Independence; he spent 10 years in the Naval Reserves with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Graham married Hope Farrar, a woman of extreme grace and talent, in August of 1965 and together they parented two daughters: Leila and Sarah.
Graham and Hope co-wrote RAPIDES REMEMBERS: 1875 – 1975 – a chronicle of the last 100 years in Central Louisiana celebrating the 100th anniversary of John Kramer & Son.
Hope died in 2004 and Leila died suddenly in 2020. However, Graham was able to transform his grief for his first wife and then his daughter into service establishing grants through the Catholic Foundation of North Central Louisiana to assist in the education of Catholic School children. From Mathematics, to Reading, to the Arts, Graham has continued the legacy of Hope and Leila. Graham married Nell Shehee of Shreveport in 2007 and their life together has been one of fun, devotion and service. His younger daughter, Sarah, stands beside him as the fifth generation of John Kramer and Sons.
The list of Graham’s service is exhaustive, including membership at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, where he served on the Parish Council and as Parish Council President for a number of years; the Alexandria Serra Club (52 years); and the Catholic Foundation of North Central Louisiana (38 years). His service to the community at large includes membership in the Rotary Club of Alexandria, the Rapides Parish Arts Council, Kent Plantation House, CENLA Mental Health Association, and Handi-Work Productions, to name a few. Overriding all of this though is Graham’s commitment and generosity to all, and his quiet dedication to the poor and marginalized, all a testament to his heart of service and with a humility that is rare.
Along with Bishop Robert Marshall, please join us in congratulating and recognizing Mr. Graham Kramer as the 2023 recipient of the St. Vincent de Paul Humanitarian Award from the Diocese of Alexandria.