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The family of the late Jean McManus were special guest at a milestone books given for Dolly Parton Imagination Library ceremony at the Acadian Medical Center. From left are Jimmie Francois, Brittany Aguillard, Brenda Francois, Dana Duvall, Tracy Duvall, Mary Johnson, Keith Johnson, Donna Baltakis, Ginger LeCompte and CEO of Acadian Medical Kevin Frank.

Acadian Medical, United Way mark milestone for Imagination Library

Newborn Preslynn Jayde Thibodeaux, 101th recipient, of free books

Ten years ago, Acadian Medical Center, partnered with St. Landry-Evangeline United Way to distribute Dolly Parton Imagination Library enrollment forms in the hospital’s maternity ward and waiting areas.
The effort helped establish the state’s first Dolly Parton Imagination Library provide books and information to parents of newborns.
After a decade, St. Landry-Evangeline United Way, as the Imagination Library affiliate for St. Landry and Evangeline parishes, has provided over 100,000 free and age-appropriate books to about 3,000 local children.
Ginger LeCompte, executive director of the St. Landry-Evangeline United Way, Donna Baltakis, board member, Dori Comeaux, community outreach director, along with Acadian Medical Center hosted a celebration reception Tuesday morning.
In honor of a milestone of over 100,000 books given for Dolly Parton Imagination Library and the late Jean McManus, who was instrumental in starting the program in Eunice; Acadian Medical Center and St. Landry Evangeline United Way presented the first baby born on Sunday, Sept. 8 with free books, gifts and flowers.
The first baby born at Acadian Medical Center on Sunday, Sept. 8, was Preslynn Jayde Thibodeaux. Her mother is Shelby McBride of Eunice and her father is Brad Thibodeaux. The volunteer group at AMC, the Pink Ladies, Lise Richard, Fanny Spekschate, Alma Ortego and Myrtle Neville, presented a gift bag of baby items to Preslynn and her mother.
Participating in the celebration were invited guests, CEO Kevin Frank of AMC, Calvin Green, CEO of Mercy Regional, Jean McManus family members; Mary and Keith Johnson, Jimmie and Brenda Francois, Brittany Aguillard, and Tracy and Dana Duvall. Unable to attend the event was McManus’ daughter Wyonna Young of Baton Rouge.
The late Jean McManus of Eunice who spearheaded and was instrumental in beginning the Dolly Parton Imagination in Eunice back in 2008, and who was the recipient of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation’s Angel Award in 2009 received a grant of $20,000 for her dedication and efforts to bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to the children of Eunice. McManus inspired many others to support the program.
According to Ginger LeCompte, executive director of St. Landry-Evangeline United Way, Blue Cross Blue Shield has pledge a $5,000 grant for Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
St. Landry-Evangeline United Way has expanded the program to include an e-newsletter that goes out to the parents of the children enrolled. Eligible children up to 5 years old must reside in St. Landry or Evangeline parishes. The books are free to the child, but the cost of the program is about $36 per year, per child. Over a five-year enrollment, a child will end up with 60 books. Enrollment is based on the availability of funds.
For more information on the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, call the St. Landry-Evangeline United Way office at 337-942-7815 or visit

Eunice Today

465 Aymond St.
Eunice, LA 70535
Phone: 337-457-3061
Fax: 337-457-3122