By Bonnie Culverhouse
It happened 10 years ago … Webster Parish Narcotics Agent Lt. Shawn Baker was working a case near the Claiborne Parish line. Until recently, it was the last time Baker saw a family dealing in methamphetamine with two children ages 1 and 2. That first time Baker laid eyes on Hallie-Stella and Jayden, they were wearing dirty diapers – 10 years ago.
“When we went to the house to question the individuals, it was unbelievably filthy,” Baker said. “And I know of one occasion they (parents) took the kids with them (on a drug deal).
Baker called an agent with Child Protective Services, and she came immediately.
“He saved my babies from their biological family’s destructive choices and lifestyle – by doing his job,” said adoptive mother K.C. Kilpatrick.
Baker said he was doing his job, but he saw the children were in danger. “They were in terrible living conditions.”
Kilpatrick was a foster parent who experienced first-hand the trauma and tragedy children face when first taken into protective custody. A decade ago, she founded Geaux 4 Kids and Project Geaux Bags and adopted the children.
“This journey began when two children came to K.C. with only the clothes on their backs and a meth pipe in a Winn-Dixie bag,” her website geauxbags.org reads.
Through Geaux Bags, children receive a bag full of basic necessities and comfort items during that emergency transition. The company uses donations to purchase items for the kids.
During a recent 10th anniversary event, Baker received the Geaux 4 Kids’ Choice Award, presented by the very children he saved.
“I had no idea about the award,” Baker said. “Rachel Boucher who works with us texted me one day out of the blue and asked if I would go to a luncheon with her at East Ridge (Country Club).”
Needless to say, Baker was caught off guard with the award.
He had not seen the children over the past decade, so when they were on stage, each telling their story, he was a bit surprised.
“They were saying it was a blessing they were still alive from that day,” Baker said. “Then they called my name. I had no clue about that. It was a blessing to see them again. I had emotions I don’t show very often.”
“He is one of the people that needs to be recognized for doing the hard things for all the right reasons,” Kilpatrick said. “This is National Foster Care Awareness Month, too. The best interest of children should always be first.”
Webster Parish Sheriff Jason Parker, who also attended the award ceremony, said he is proud of Baker.
“I’m proud of all of my deputies and investigators, but this was really a special deal,” Parker said. “I am glad there were several of us who could be there to see Shawn receive this honor.”
** GEAUX 4 KIDS Founder K.C. Kilpatrick began the organization as an independent, grassroots effort after becoming a foster parent in 2013 and discovering how stressful the initial 24 to 48 hours of receiving children into foster care were and how impossible it was to adequately prepare. She began purchasing supplies at her own expense and distributing supplies to the smallest victims of crime out of the trunk of her car. There is now a location in Bossier City, and the initiative officially launched statewide in 2020.