[Edited and appended by Fred Duplechin beginning December 2020 following Charlie’s passing]
The Louisiana Region of AACA has annually presented an award for the best article contributed by a member for the official publication, The Duster.
The first award in the series was the Nita Scheaffer award originated in 1977 and retired after 12 years in 1989. At that time it was decided to retire future awards after 10 years.
The second award was the Mildred Brooks award it was retired in 1999 and presented to her son Paul Brooks of Raytown, Missouri.
The Jean Ballintine award was sponsored by John and Estelle Copes III and was designed to honor a former member of the region. Mr. Copes managed the award upgrades, the selection committee and distribution. The Ballintine Award was retired in December of 2010.
The Estelle Copes Award was first presented at the December 2010 Regional meeting sponsored by Eula and Charlie Matthews. It was retired at the December 2020 Regional Meeting.
The Writer’s award is a traveling award presented each year at the December meeting for the best article printed in the region newsletter ‘THE DUSTER’. The award year begins with the November – December issue (number 6) and ends after the September – October (issue number 5) the following year.
Mr. Copes passed on the sponsorship and management of the award to Jim and Betty McDaniel as of the Christmas Meeting 2003. Charlie Matthews took over that responsibility upon the passing of Jim McDaniel in 2015. Herb Comeaux assumed responsibility for the Writer’s Award at the December 2020 Regional Meeting following the passing of Charlie Matthews. Herb will be the first Chairman for the new Award which he has designated as the Charlie Matthews Writer’s Award.
Each issue of The Duster is mailed to David Norwood of The Advocate, who, along with his assistants, makes the selection of the best article of the year. The Writer’s Award Chairman then has the name tag engraved, announces the winner and makes the presentation to the recipient at the annual Christmas Membership Meeting. The winner retains possession of the award for one year then returns it to be awarded to the next winner.
Each Writer Award is retired after 10 years and awarded to a family member of the honoree.