Thanks to Phatwater supportersPublished 12:02am Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Resounding thanks are due to the many locals and Phatwater friends from afar for their 2012 investment in Phatwater Kayak Challenge. Spanning more than a decade, the Phatwater Kayak Challenge LLC has truly earned its berth as a momentous event, serving to make Natchez unique among all the communities which line the Mississippi River.
Of the various components from which the Phatwater is formed, among those most crucial to its success, though for whom recognition is virtually unknown, are the dozen or so safety boaters and their crew members, each of whom selflessly sacrifices an autumn morning each fall which begins well before sunrise and continues long into the evening hours. Their names are familiar around Natchez, Captain Chris Gibson of the Natchez Fire Department, and his supernumeraries firefighters Fernando Videgaray and crew.
For Curtis Gibson and Charles Feltus, with Adams County Search and Rescue, we owe a timeless debt as well, in recognition of their service that is entirely voluntary, though indispensible to our legions of area outdoorsmen and women, frequently in need of a helping hand or, at times, a lifesaving effort.
Others within these ranks include Randy Calvert Meng and Forrest Flinn, Kevin Colbert and Brent Bourland and James Schuchs. Deputy Ron Jinkins, also on board, served as Sheriff Chuck Mayfield’s able representative, rounding out our law enforcement component with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office marine capability.
The financing of the Phatwater has always been a bit of a hat trick and 2012 was no exception, though this year we did receive a considerable boost from the City of Natchez, thanks to Mayor Butch Brown and Donnie Holloway. As well, the Natchez Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and Connie Taunton made good on their pledge for financial assistance for which we are ever grateful.
Individual financial support coming directly from the community was instrumental, led by Dr. Randy and Anne Tillman, Dr. Barry and Terri Tillman, David and Betty Paradise, and Taco Bell, along with Margaret “Peggy” Pierrepont, Benoist Law Offices, Callon Petroleum and Energy Drilling.
To Tensas, Delta, and Concordia banks, we tip our hats toward Vidalia for your continued support. On our side of the river we were once again able to count on the contributions from Britton & Koontz, United Mississippi and Regions Bank, through the Clearing House Bank Association.
Outside of Natchez tremendous support came from Dr. Stuart Strahl of Chicago ADFAX and Laurence Ross of New York City, Epic Kayaks of Charleston, S.C., and Ocean Paddlesports of Costa Mesa, Calif. From Jonesville, La., Attorney Russell Purvis offered substantial assistance, and in kind, became the winner of our Hotel Monteleone gift weekend in New Orleans. To the folks at the Monteleone, thank you once more.
From Alabama, to Bill Kinnaird of Mobile who sponsored our trophies and gift packages to the paddlers, and to Stephen and Jean Elliott, parents of Phatwater staffer Adam Elliott, and to Sally Young of Natchez as well, not only for her financial support, but for her continued insight toward ensuring a first rate event.
And to Tom Millikin of Miss-Lou Physical Therapy, who brought us substantial support, as with Dr. Charles and Christine Borum, Dr. Ken and Karen Stubbs, and Attorneys Bill McGehee, Ralph B. Shields, and Katie Freiberger, as well as financial counselor Bill Byrne. To Shields Godfrey we say thank you, once again. To Supermarket Operations and the Loy family, we offer heartfelt thanks for your ongoing support.
To the Isle Of Capri, and to the Natchez Grand Hotel and hotelier Warren Reuther of New Orleans, and to his general manager on the ground in Natchez, Walter Tipton, and to Natchez Radio Group, Rosco and 95 Country, we thank you, once more, for your considerable insight, air time, VIP athlete assistance and continued support for the Phatwater. To our VIP Pilot, Sheila Thompson of Natchez and parts unknown, for your skill and generous time, we offer our thanks once again, and to Janette Lewis, whose launching of her new B&B, Bitter End Bungalow, came just in time to accommodate several VIP paddlers.
And then there are the sideline players, so critical to the conduct of a rattle-free transition from concept to reality, though whose year-long assistance is vital to keeping the Phatwater Kayak Challenge a living entity: Heather and Jamie Kearney, Fred and Shannon Parker, Lindy and André Farish and the Under-The-Hill Saloon, and to the Meridian NAS students, Ken McLemore, Chris Trippe, Beth and Allen Richard, Beth DeLaisch and Allen Hancock, Dona Jones, Teva Saxon and to Donna and Laureen Jones.
Finally, it is essential we recognize Terry Vandeventer, and his wife Ginger of Terry for their contribution, the Phatwater Bowie Knife, which, in its eighth iteration, has garnered for the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society more than $50,000 in cash contributions through its annual raffle. In keeping with this, we would be remiss were we not to recognize Nan Garrison, who prepares the Phatwater Pheast each year, as well as to Gina and May Holyoak, for their tireless contributions to our community, and through whose guidance toward a more civilized, compassionate society we begin to recognize all creatures as gifts of a loving God.
Keith Benoist is the organizer of the Phatwater Kayak Challenge.