Joe Elder named Avoyellean 2008
Mansura businessman honored by Avoyelles Journal

Joe Elder

Mansura businessman Joe Elder has been named Avoyellean of the Year 2008.

The announcement came Thursday afternoon when past honorees of the award gathered with Elder at the Red River Grill.

Elder was chosen from several dozen Avoyelles Parish residents who were nominated for the annual award, which is sponsored by the Avoyelles Journal.

Elder's brother, wife Catherine, and family members were tipped off in advance, and many were in attendance of the surprise gathering,

The award is given annually to a person who has done outstanding work in improving life in Avoyelles Parish.

Glenn Goudeau, last year's recipient, read Elder's nomination and presented a plaque in the shape of Avoyelles.

Elder was greatly moved by the presentation, and accepted the award stating how he had moved to Avoyelles in 1969, and praised the people of Avoyelles. He noted he always believed in "giving back to a community what God has given to us". Elder, a successfull businessman, whose family has been in the timber or lumber business for generations, is a noted sponsor of several charitable causes. Past honorees of the award who attended the presentation along with Goudeau included Marc Dupuy, Jr., Jo Saucier Hamilton, Aggie Bozec Neck, Edmond St. Romain, and Dr. L. J. Mayeux, Jr.

The nomination, submitted by Edmond St. Romain, and penned by his daughter, Rose Ann is as follows: I nominate Joe Elder of Marksville for Avoyellean of the Year 2008. One of the most admirable businessmen in Avoyelles Parish is Joe Elder. He employs 65 people at his business, Elder Wood Preserving Company, where he treats them with dignity and respect. He shares his financial success with many organizations and people, often without any public recognition.

After Hurricane Gustav, he donated time and materials to help those whose properties had been damaged. Several years ago he also donated funds and lumber to Avoyelles High for new stadium seating and a press box in their athletic facility.

His enduring commitment to education is expressed through multiple annual generous donations- to the Avoyelles Parish School Board for funding grants to Avoyelles Parish teachers to Avoyelles High School for special projects.

Every year, Mr. Elder also gives generous financial donations to several local churches. He has donated lumber to the Boy Scouts and to the Louisiana 4-H Museum in Mansura for its beautiful pecan floor. He donated about $20,000 worth of plywood and lumber that was used by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to build duck blinds and deer stands for the LDWF's Youth and Physically Challenged Hunting Programs. LDWF constructed 19 wheelchair-accessible deer stands on five wildlife management areas throughout the state and a handful of wheelchair accessible duck blinds on four wildlife management areas.

Mr. Elder's generosity enables Avoyelles' physically challenged people with places to hunt in the state. His love of the outdoors inspired him to donate money to support protection of Louisiana's endangered Black Bear.

Because of his support, the LDWF invites Mr. Elder every year to participate in the monitoring of black bears at Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge in Marksville. Mr. Elder has a soft spot for needy children and has provided funds for a multi-media room at the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home. Joe Elder exemplifies a person who truly lives the words of The Prayer of St. Francis: "For it is in giving that we receive." Please consider Joe Elder for the 2008 Avoyellean of the Year.

For a list of past recipients of the Avoyellean of the Year award visit: Avoyelleans of the Year