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Local business owner wants to save Delhi's local economy

DELHI, La. - Barbara Roark is considered one of the most influential people in Delhi. At one time in her life she says she felt helpless and dependent on others. She explains that both of her parents were admitted to Deerfield Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at one point in time. Roark believed it was the Certified Nursing Assistants that helped give her parents the best care possible. 

"The more educated they can be, the better healthcare our people are going to get, which is going to benefit our community in all ways," said Roark.

This is why Delbert Wilbanks, owner of Deerfield Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, is on a mission to help save his beloved town. He says that nursing homes often provide many of the jobs in smaller communities. He thinks that the moment they stop supplying jobs is when a detrimental trickle down effect will occur. 

"That's going to hurt them and they're going to have to probably downsize. When they downsize, those people are going to move from the area to find employment. It further erodes your tax base and at some point we're losing rural America.," he said.

 Wilbanks is partnering with Louisiana Delta Community College to provide training for Certified Nursing Assistants so that they can fill the need within his community. Wilbanks says he believes as a result of having a well trained staff, it will keep Delhi booming.

Director of Economic Workforce Development at Louisiana Delta Community College (LDCC), Dean Baugh, says this kind of outreach is what LDCC is all about.

"Delta Community College,community is in our name and our whole reason for our existence is to provide a local workforce for all of our communities," Baugh said. 

 As for Roark, she says catering to the elderly population in rural communities is a win for everyone. 

"In all directions in a town, in every facet [it] plays an important part, healthcare is very important, especially to the elderly," she said.

Baugh says LDCC has seen great success with their programs across many rural communities in Northeast Louisiana. He says LDCC provides assistance in the manufacturing field which is also another job opportunity for the people of Delhi.




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