( L - R) Karen Fontenot (daughter), U.S. Congressman Boustany, Sally Fontenot (wife), Royne Fontenot and Lake Charles MIC Andy Patrick at podium (Photo: WFO Lake Charles)
(Oct. 18, 2010) - Eunice, La. resident Royne Fontenot has been awarded the National Weather Service's prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award. He was honored for more than five decades of dedicated service as a cooperative observer.
Family and friends, elected officials and local dignitaries were on hand for a recognition ceremony at the Eunice City Hall. The award was presented by Lake Charles Meteorologist-in-Charge Andy Patrick and U.S. Congressman Charles Boustany Jr.
"It brings me the utmost pleasure to present Mr. Fontenot with the Thomas Jefferson Award," said Rep. Boustany. "The sacrifice on his part to document weather observations has provided the National Weather Service with valuable information for use in local forecasting."
Patrick added, "Royne's life story is truly amazing and his work as a cooperative observer for 52 years is certainly one of the highlights. It has been a pleasure to work with him and his family throughout the years."
During numerous severe weather events, Fontenot has maintained an unbroken string of reports since becoming an observer in May 1958. He always managed to pass on his weather reports despite damage to his equipment and his home, as well as during prolonged power outages. His records were also featured frequently by local newspapers when unusual weather events occurred or were anticipated.
A World War II veteran who saw action in the Philippines and Okinawa, Fontenot is the recipient of two Bronze Stars and a Bronze arrowhead. He was also instrumental in establishing a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Eunice.
In addition to the Jefferson Award, Fontenot is a recipient of the National Weather Service's Richard Hagemeyer, John Companius Holm and Edward H. Stoll Awards.