Gary Lavergne Honored With Trailblazers Award
In early 2005, Gary Lavergne's research on a book on forensic art took him to the Houston Police Department's Homicide Division where he met and interviewed Sgt. Clarence Douglas and Investigator Darcus Shorten. They were detectives charged with investigating the murder of a little girl whose body had been wrapped in a blanket and abandoned in a ditch. She was discovered on September 9, 2001. Her little face had been so badly damaged and decomposed that she could not be identified for several months. During that time she was known as "Angel Doe."
After the interview, Lavergne and the detectives went into the field and revisited the crime scenes. The last stop was the Houston Memorial Garden Cemetery in Houston, where Angel Doe had been buried. The trio, however, could not locate the little girl's grave. It was then they discovered that the little girl had no headstone to identify the location of her remains.
"It was like they threw her away all over again," Sgt. Douglas said.
"Well, not this time, " Lavergne added.
Over the next few weeks Sgt. Douglas secured the cooperation of his lodge brothers, members of the Ever Ready Lodge #506 Free & Accepted Mason/PHA from Rosenberg, Texas, and employees of the local Sam's Club to secure a headstone for "Angel Doe." Gary Lavergne added a generous contribution. On June 7, 2005, he accompanied the Ever Ready Lodge, and the family of the little girl, who had been identified as Raysate Knight of Houston, for the dedication of the metal and granite headstone.
In October of 2005, the Ever Ready Lodge honored Gary Lavergne as one of the recipients of the Trailblazers' Award during its annual banquet in Missouri City, Texas.
Remarks of Gary M. Lavergne at the 2005 Trailblazers Banquet:
It is a great honor and pleasure to accept this award. Over the past several years I have written three crime books, and I've encountered a lot of very bad people. But I also have encounters with some who truly inspire me to be a better person. They humble me with their commitment to do what is right. I met such a person when Clarence Douglas became my friend. I'll never forget how at that graveyard he said, "It was just like they threw her away all over again."
And then I thought, "Not this time."
The next time I visited that cemetery, the little girl we called "Angel Doe" had a headstone. I'd like to think that we restored her identity. And while there I encountered a remarkable group of men who inspired me to give again. I looked at them and said to myself, "those are what men should be."
Gentlemen, you are what ALL men should be.