Vernon Joseph "V.J." St. Pierre, Jr. was born on Jan. 7, 1945, to Vernon "Flappy" and Macklin "Maggie" St. Pierre. He takes great pride in having been born on the bayou.
He is a faithful friend, devoted husband, avid sportsman and father of three.
As a gifted 128-pound athlete, V.J. excelled at high school athletics. If you grew up in St. Charles Parish, you might have seen him score a touchdown or 10. The number that adorned V.J.'s jersey was 12. He learned a great deal about life from playing sports. He learned to be competitive as well as how to graciously accept defeat. He learned how to be a team player, allowing him to see the bigger picture in situations. Most importantly, he learned the meaning of discipline. V.J. graduated from Destrehan High School in 1964.
After attending Southeastern Louisiana University for two years, St. Pierre answered freedom's call and volunteered to serve his country, enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1966. In February 1967 he married Kathleen Madere of Reserve. V.J. and Kathleen were married at St. Mary's Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Oceanside, Calif. There were four people present: V.J., Kathleen and two witnesses - The priest and the janitor. The wedding reception consisted of a six-pack of Pepsi and a bag of Oreos. The honeymoon was short-lived as he bid his new bride farewell and deployed for Vietnam only four days later.
At the age of 22, V.J. was caught in any enemy ambush and shot 11 times. When he saw the medivac helicopter that was to evacuate him explode from enemy fire, he went into shock and woke up four weeks later in a hospital in Da Nang. V.J. returned to the states an amputee after losing his left leg and right pinky finger.
He spent 13 months in Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif., before returning to Destrehan.
Sheriff Johnny St. Amant hired V.J. as a radio operator and records clerk. Sheriff Ducky Sellars promoted him to a juvenile officer, then to a detective. He served on the St. Charles Parish police jury and in 1978 served as its president.
V.J. is a member of the governing board of the South Central Planning and Development Commission, a member of the Regional Planning Commission and a proud St. Charles Parish Rotarian.
In 1974 he and his father started their own business out of his garage on Destrehan Drive. Their hard work paid off, and St. Pierre's Fabrication and Welding Inc. blossomed into a successful business of 32 years in St. Charles Parish.
V.J. and his wife had three children. Their oldest daughter, Shelley, was born in 1969. Soon followed Kari, and in 1972, Ron Thomas was born. St. Pierre has six grandchildren.