BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — In honor of Women’s History Month, BR Proud and Healthy Blue will spotlight four women, over the next four weeks, who have been nominated by the community as “Remarkable Women.”
Ms. Gail Hurst of Pointe Coupee Parish is the second finalist of 2021. She has devoted her life to helping others and working toward making her community a better place for all. Hurst now stays busy as an advertising representative at The Pointe Coupee Banner. She technically retired from the non-profit sector, but continues to give back whenever possible.
“They told me, you will never get out of this business, and I have never got out of this business,” Hurst said with laughter. “There’s just something about it.”
Hurst has remained devoted to the Catholic church and attributes her work there as helping her to succeed as the first director of H.O.P.E. Ministries of Pointe Coupee.
“I kind of knew my community, being involved with children and the church,” Hurst said. “So it just made it better for me. I worked with the nuns, worked with the priests.”
Years later, one of the founders of H.O.P.E. Ministries, Aletha Moore would remark on Hurst’s dedication to the community of Pointe Coupee.
Gail is a catalyst for change. Through her patient and persistent education and persuasion of those who can donate resources and time, she breaks down barriers of race, religion and gender. She builds bridges, never perceives anyone as an enemy — only as potential allies in the move to enhance the lives of all who live in Pointe Coupee.Aletha Moore, Co-Founder, H.O.P.E. Ministries of Pointe Coupee
After more than a decade with H.O.P.E. Ministries, Hurst went on to work with People Improving Communities through Organizing – Louisiana Interfaith Together, PICO LIFT.
The mission afforded her opportunities to travel across the U.S. and connect with others working in the non-profit sector. “I have always been a person to connect outside of my parish — to see what I can bring to my parish,” Hurst said. “It was really a great experience for me to travel around to different states and see what was going on and see how people were organizing to make things better for them.”
One of the pillars of PICO LIFT involves starting a new non-profit. After five years with the program, Hurst began Faith United for Empowerment and Leadership (FUEL).
A lot of people think you have to have a PhD to do a service. That is not true. You have gifts and it’s going to come naturally when you finally reach that point.Gail Hurst
Hurst has had the honor of being recognized for her work in numerous publications, but she also attributes her success to the interwoven kindness that extends throughout Pointe Coupee. “I never would’ve been able to do any of the things I do… if it wasn’t for the heart of this community,” Hurst said.
Hurst also said much of her strength today comes from her immediate support system which is filled with love and fun times. She is the proud mother to three children, Barvon Hurst Cador (and John Ariel Cador), Iris Hurst Davis and Claude James Hurst, Junior. She also loves spending time with some of the “smallest” bundles of joy in her life, her grandchildren, Joseph Claude Hurst, Dylan Claude Davis, John Alex Cador and two step-grandchildren.
Hurst said she recently received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and is doing well. She’s looking forward to life returning to normal — the way she remembers. “You can’t hug, you can’t get close to each other, even in the post office,” Hurst said. “It’s so difficult but that’s what we’re suffering from. I know I am, because we always had the nature to cling.”