Connie Acosta Lamke is the President and Founder of The Acosta Foundation.
She was born in Westwego, Louisiana and grew up in the New Orleans area. She moved to Ville Platte in the early nineties.
After being a stay-at-home mother for several years, Connie went to work for KVPI Radio in Ville Platte where she served as Director of Operations and Promotions. Her lifelong love of service to others finally had an outlet due to her position at the radio station.
As the days turned to years, Connie involved herself in countless charitable organizations, sometimes as a volunteer and other times as team leader or chairperson. She dreamed of starting her own foundation so she could do more for her community on her terms.
Her dream became a reality in July 2019 when the government granted her foundation 501(c)(3) status. She chose to dedicate the foundation and all of its community works to the memory of her late father, Rodney J. Acosta, Sr.
Connie is truly a giver. She is constantly thinking about how life can be better for others and she doesn't simply dream about it. She acts on it. As one event ends, she is gathering the support of her very devoted
and equally charitable friends and they begin planning the next event. It is truly a labor of love.
Connie was recently the recipient of the St. Landry/Evangeline United Way's 2019 "Woman with Heart" award and, later that same year, was honored by the Evangeline Chamber of Commerce as the 2019 Woman of the Year.
Connie is married to Chris Lamke and they have two adult children, Kerri and Cassidy, and are blessed with four grandchildren, Landon, Lily, Evie and Oliva and two step-grandchildren, Harris and Tenli.
Chris Lamke is the Vice President of the Acosta Foundation. He was born and raised in Ville Platte, LA.
Chris spent the majority of his career in the broadcast industry working in radio and television. He began his career at sixteen years old as an on-air radio personality, working his way up the ladder to a production director, operations manager and, finally, as a general manager. He remained in that capacity for a number of years until exiting the field in 2012. At that time, he began a management career with a private medical retail company.
In July 2019, with the start of The Acosta Foundation, he assumed the role of Vice President of the organization, while continuing with his full time job. Chris has passion for community service. The Acosta Foundation allows him to work alongside his wife, Connie, as they build on The Acosta Foundation's dedication to Evangeline Parish and the surrounding communities in Acadiana. He brings years of business management and marketing experience to help the foundation grow.
Together, Chris and Connie are proud of their two adult children, Kerri and Cassidy, who are both on The Acosta Foundation's Board of Directors. Chris' pride and joy are his and Connie's four grandchildren, Landon, Lily, Evie, and Olivia and their two step-grandchildren, Harris and Tenli. Not to be left off of the list of their children, we should mention Chris and Connie also have two dogs, Meaux (Moe), a Boxer, and Mollie Roux (Rue), a Boxer/Cur mix and Cooper, an arrogant, aloof, but very lovable cat. Chris, Connie, the cat and the dogs all reside in Ville Platte.
Heidi F. Jeanmard is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Acosta Foundation.
She has been involved with our group prior to the development of The Acosta Foundation. She began her service in 2015 with the organization's signature event, Bras on the Bayou and she is the event lead for the Bunny Surprise which benefits the Miles Perret Cancer Center.
Heidi is employed as deputy clerk with Ville Platte City Court. She resides in Faubourg, Louisiana and is married to Jules. They have two children, Amelia and Bentley.
Dr. Gwen Fontenot serves as advisor and board member of The Acosta Foundation.
Gwen is retired from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2020 after 21 years of employment in the B.I. Moody College of Business Administration (MCOBA). During her tenure at UL, Gwen served as Assistant Professor of Marketing, Head of the Department of Marketing and Hospitality and interim Dean of MCOBA. She also served as the Director of the university's Study Abroad Programs and Site Director of the Italy Study Abroad Program. She has over 25 years of experience as a marketing research consultant and has owned several small businesses, including a full-service marketing research firm. She previously worked with two full-service marketing research firms in Dallas and served as Director of Research for Ernst & Young's Southwest Region and their Dallas, TX office.
Gwen received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in marketing from the University of North Texas.
In addition to her position with The Acosta Foundation, Gwen currently serves as President of the Evangeline Chamber of Commerce. She is one of the founders of the Evangeline Parish Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Acadiana.
Gwen enjoys traveling, is passionate about education, and is committed to helping the business communities and people in Evangeline Parish prosper.
Kerri M. Bellard is a board member with the Acosta Foundation. Raised in Ville Platte, Kerri is a graduate of Ville Platte High School and SLCC.
She is the daughter of Connie and Chris Lamke and shares her parents' commitment to community and charitable causes. Kerri is actively involved in all aspects of The Acosta Foundation. She specializes in fundraising and event coordination.
Kerri works as a business account executive for AT&T Live Mobile, an authorized ATT & FirstNet provider.
Kerri describes her life as mirroring The Brady Bunch. Residing in Tate Cove, Louisiana, she is married to Harris "Bubba" Bellard III and is a mother to Landon, Lily, and Olivia and stepmom to Harris IV and Tenli.
Kerri and Bubba also own and operate Bubba's Detail Service.
Cassidy J. Marks is a board member with the Acosta Foundation. Raised in Ville Platte, Cassidy is a graduate of Ville Platte High School and resides in Ville Platte.
She is the daughter of Connie and Chris Lamke. Cassidy is always ready to get to work on the next Acosta Foundation sponsored event. She handles multiple fundraising tasks and event sponsorships throughout the year.
Cassidy works as a legal secretary for the Law Office of J.B. West and Associates in Ville Platte. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and crafting. Married to Adam Marks, Cassidy is mother to Evie Marks.
Rodney Acosta, Jr. is a board member with the Acosta Foundation and the son of our foundation's namesake, Rodney Acosta, Sr.
Rodney was born and raised in Marrero, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. Shortly after his sister, Connie Acosta Lamke moved to Ville Platte, Rodney also made the move to be closer to his sister and her family.
He is proud to be part of a foundation honoring his father's memory by doing good works and acts of charity for those who need it most. Rodney is very involved in the Acosta Foundation where he chooses to handle event logistics.
He is married to Laurie and has one teenage daughter, Alexis, who is also active in the Acosta Foundation, assisting with events and helping to maintain our social media presence. Rodney also has three stepchildren.
Randall M. "Randy" Deshotel is an Acosta Foundation board member.
Randy is the father of 3 daughters - Sarah, a Physical Therapist in Lake Charles; Camille, an Occupational Therapist in Carencro; and Allison, an employee of Dow Chemical in Beaumont, Texas. All three daughters are married, and he has four grandchildren, three boys and one girl. He has held three jobs in hisy life: Director of Purchasing at Savoy Medical Center, Branch Manager of La. Land Bank in Opelousas and as Branch Manager of Citizens Bank in Mamou for 20+ years. He is a member of the Evangeline Chamber of Commerce, a member of Savoy Indigent Patient Support, an Honorary member of the Vidrine Volunteer Fire Department, a member of the Mamou Rotary Club, past member of the Mamou Chamber of Commerce, past President and Treasurer of the La. Crawfish Farmer's Association, director and member of the Evangeline Parish and La. Cattlemen's Association, a past director of the International Brangus Breeder's Association, and a past board member of the Savoy Medical Management Group (Savoy Hospital in Mamou).
Randy is the Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court.
HIs hobbies are attending the exhibitions of cattle across the Southern U.S., often helping to teach young people how to feed, groom and exhibit their own 4-H and FFA projects to the best of their abilities so that they may learn the discipline and appreciation of quality it takes to be successful at such an endeavor, and working in his yard.
Ricky LeBlanc is a board member with the Acosta Foundation. He has been involved with charitable causes for many years in Evangeline Parish. He began as a Team Captain with the Evangeline Parish Relay for Life event in 2012. He then moved to the Rhinestones for a Cure Team, followed by the Cops for a Cure team, transitioning in 2018 to what would become The Acosta Foundation.
With the Acosta group, Ricky is the lead on our Evangeline Parish Jail and Bail events and works closely on our Bras on the Bayou Fundraiser each October during Breast Cancer Awareness month. Willing to work on any project the foundation involves itself with, Ricky is an invaluable asset to our organization. In addition to helping across all aspects of The Acosta Foundation's fundraising, logistics, and community restoration projects, he also serves as our Historian, photographing and documenting the foundation's events so we're never at a loss to remember the good works that have been done across this parish.
A graduate of Pine Prairie High School, Ricky resides in Ville Platte where he is a Classification Deputy for the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office. When he's not working at the sheriff's office or on one of the numerous projects of The Acosta Foundation, Ricky enjoys reading, cooking, photography, watching movies, listening to all genres of music, especially Country, and spending time with his two faithful companions, his dogs, Paxton and Gizmo. Ricky began his professional life in retail in 2002 before moving to law enforcement in 2009.