The 2022 recipient of the Bishop Charles E. Herzig Humanitarian Award is Glee Emmite. Named in the memory of the first bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, this award is presented annually to individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions within the diocese in seeking to promote human welfare. For the past 15 years, a variety of individuals and organizations have been awarded and recognized for those who exhibit love for others by assisting those in need. Glee Emmite is a parishioner of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Paris, where she is involved in many different aspects of her church community. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, she is the oldest of four siblings. She grew up in Catholic schools and graduated with a degree in nursing from St. Louis University in 1959.
Emmite married her husband, Joseph, on Thanksgiving Day in 1961 and they have three children: Eileen, Sharon, and David. She has 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Emmite helped manage her husband’s medical practice in Paris from 1978 to 1997, when he retired. After her husband passed away in 2012, Emmite chose to stay in Paris and now she operates a gift shop that sells local honey products and collectibles with a friend.
Emmite shared these responses in a short interview with the Catholic East Texas:
What various activities are you involved in at your parish?
I am the past president of Our Lady’s Guild. I am presently an altar flower coordinator and I coordinate Easter and Christmas altar decorations. My favorite and most rewarding activity is as the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry director, which I’ve been doing since 2004.
Share with us some details about your faith journey that you would like to share with our readers.
My journey of faith has been ongoing since baptism. I received my first holy Communion on May 7, 1944, my seventh birthday. I have an “attitude of gratitude” for the blessing of a good Catholic education and for the opportunity to become a disciple of Jesus and Mary.
What were your thoughts when you heard you were receiving the Bishop Herzig Award?
I was shocked that Bishop Strickland honored me, but humbled. I only wish my Joe could have been there to share that moment. I had a chance when he died to move to where any one of my children lived. However, since I have been in Paris and at Our Lady of Victory for 44 years, I could not leave my church family.
How have you witnessed God’s hand working in your life throughout your faith journey?
I have always believed that there are no accidents. Everything happens providentially, and everything is in God’s plan for me, so it has a purpose. God created us in his image and likeness. We have been given much and so much is expected of us. If he created me, he has a unique purpose for me that only I can fulfill, so I need to be ready when he calls. Sometimes, I might not be ready at that moment, but when I answer anyway, he gives me the strength, words, or knowledge to complete the task.
Who or what has been the greatest influence on you?
My belief in God, my faith in God, my Catholic education, and my parents, who brought me into this world, loved me, and gave me advice by example.
Father Gavin Vavarek, pastor of Our Lady of Victory, has the following to share about Emmite: “She has a great gift of planning and organizing and is a very hard worker. Her involvement with Our Lady’s Guild and St. Vincent de Paul really stands out. She wants to help people know the love and mercy of God. Glee is also a tremendous booster for the city of Paris and for downtown in particular. She actively encourages development of downtown and restoration of aging buildings. She wants everyone to share what a great place Paris is.”
Many congratulations to Glee Emmite for this most deserving and impressive accomplishment.