Acadiana Business

Paying it forward earns Armentor Crystal Gavel Award

by Leslie Turk

For his decades of work helping at-risk youths, Lafayette attorney Glenn Armentor was presented with the 2012 Crystal Gavel Award at the Lafayette Bar Association's office on Johnston Street Friday.

Each year the Louisiana State Bar Association selects an attorney and judge in each region of the state to receive its prestigious Crystal Gavel Award, which recognizes community service and volunteer work. This year the honor was bestowed on Lafayette attorney Glenn Armentor - in large part for his decades of work helping at-risk youths - in a ceremony Friday at the Lafayette Bar Association's 2607 Johnston St. office.

One of 10 children, Armentor grew up poor and paid his way through law school by working offshore. He credits many adult mentors for helping him stay on the right path so that he could earn his law degree, and today devotes much of his time paying it forward.

In 2009 he introduced the Glenn Armentor $10,000 "Pay it Forward" Scholarship Program of Excellence, which awards hardworking underprivileged youths with $10,000 scholarships to UL Lafayette. Since that time, seven worthy students have received one of the $10,000 scholarships, with a goal of increasing the offering to six or eight scholarships per year. "Pay it Forward" is the largest individual scholarship grant program in the history of the university.

Armentor was recognized for his lifetime of commitment to helping, supporting and guiding at-risk youths in Acadiana. In the early '80s, as the Boy's Club and Girl's Club of Acadiana struggled to develop roots in the community, he was instrumental in helping the organization secure facilities offering a safe haven for kids to pursue wholesome, healthy activities. Since that time, the club has helped thousands of young boys and girls stay on the right track.

Around the same time, Armentor became a passionate supporter of the Ragin' Cajun Amateur Boxing Club, where he joined coach Beau Williford in helping redirect troubled young boys, focus their aggression more positively and return to school. When the club's location burned to the ground in 2003, Armentor took it upon himself to spearhead a fundraising drive that led to a new facility that reinvigorated the program.

"Today the world is harder and more brutal," Armentor said in his keynote speech to the Greater Southwest Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce in March of last year. "There are many at-risk kids in need of care and guidance. If you know of one who is troubled, send them to me."