Made You Smile Back's January 2019 'Recognized Baby Boomer of the Month' is proud to announce and present this award to Gail Berzat-Paul from Grand Prairie, Texas. She is not only a 16-Year Breast Cancer Survivor but is a Hurricane Katrina Refugee who relocated to Texas in 2005.
Gail Berzat-Paul has had an interesting life journey. You will be amazed at everything she has gone thru, survived and accomplished. It is my pleasure to tell you her inspiring and uplifting story. Congratulations Gail Berzat-Paul!
Gail Berzat-Paul was born in New Orleans, Louisiana four of 10 children. Her parents were originally from Mansura, LA. Her father was a teacher but could not raise a growing family on a teacher's salary. Her parents moved the family into the Magnolia Housing Project in 1940. She was raised in what was known as the "Project". Her parents' native tongue was Creole-French. Unfortunately, she and her siblings did not learn the language, to which Gail regrets
to this day. She was raised devout Roman Catholic and attended Holy Ghost Elementary School in New Orleans.
Some of Gail's early childhood personal struggles were overcoming shyness and her height. Evidently, she was always the tallest girl in her class. Later in life, Gail learned to embrace her height.
She also struggled with trying to be as smart in school as her older sister, who she claims was almost a genuis. She finally realized she had other talents to keep her busy-- art and gymnastics.
Gail's educational background started at the tender age of five. She loved attending Holy Ghost Catholic Elementary School in New Orleans. She felt 'special' every day dressed in her burgundy uniform and brown and white saddle oxfords.
She graduated from eighth grade and went on to public
middle school. That is where she really started exploring her love of art. Gail was always the 'go to' girl to be on the committees to decorate for all the school musicals, graduations and Proms.
During her senior year in high school, Gail met her future husband. She affectionately calls him, "the LOVE of my life". Today at 54 years and counting, Emanuel "Butch" Paul is still by her side.
After high school graduation, Gail enrolled in Southern University New Orleans. Unfortunately her college career was just one semester, as she found herself expecting with her first son,
Kevin. She had to drop out, but always to this day she always wanted to finish college.
Being a Military wife is a special highlight of her life. She and her husband lived in Germany and Japan. She was able to expose her children to different cultures.
Besides her son, Kevin, Gail also gave birth to her other son, Duane and daughter, Kara. Her children are her pride and joy!
While living overseas, Gail got to pursue her lifelong passion of Art. Living in Germany was a great experience. She was able to study with a German Artist for three years. It was there in Germany, she learned the 'Old Masters' technique of painting.
She then found herself relocating to Japan with her husband. There she got the opportunity to learn the Asian Japanese technique known as Sumia. She also studied first-hand with a local Japanese Artist. For those of you that may not know, Sumia is a type of black ink wash painting using delicate and precise calligraphy-type brush strokes.
When I posed the question of what Gail was most proud of. She responded: "I'm most proud of MYSELF, my husband, my children and grandchildren. Proud of my marriage surviving a sometimes-challenged military life.
I'm proud of the livestyle I'm living. I'm proud that I'm able to take care of my husband. I never thought in my wildest
dreams I would become his Dialysis Nurse. I am able to dialyze him at our home and have been doing it for nearly 12 years!"
Today Gail is 75 years YOUNG. She's a wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin and friend. She tries to stay healthy and is both a 16-year Breast Cancer Survivor as well as a Breast Cancer Advocate.
She's a sports fanatic loving her beloved New Orleans Saints. Gail also enjoys watching tennis, bowling, baseball and basketball.
Gail Berzat-Paul has always been extremely active in various community programs throughout the years. She was a member of her children's Athletic Boosters Club, the Confraternity of Christian Athletes. She has also been a proud member of the Catholic Women of the Chapel.
Today Gail keeps busy attending TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) weekly. As stated before, she is an active member of the Breast Cancer Support Group and she attends Bariatric Support Group meetings as well.
Going one step further, her family and friends will tell you that Gail will go out of her way to help you if you are ever in need. She's one of the most kindest and well-respected 'Baby Boomer' women you'll even meet.
Is that not the best advice?!? Congratulations once again to Gail Berzat-Paul!
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