Steckler honored as chamber’s Natchezian

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Dale Steckler asked Natchez Chamber of Commerce members a simple request Tuesday night. She was accepting the chamber’s highest honor, the Natchezian Award, on behalf of her late husband Dr. David Steckler. &uot;He expects as much from you as he put in himself,&uot; Mrs. Steckler said.

And what Steckler put into the community is immeasurable, said City Clerk Donnie Holloway, who presented the award to his sister at the chamber’s annual dinner.

As a member of the Natchez Recreation Council, Steckler headed the effort for expansion at the Duncan Park Golf Course. He led the drive for legalized gaming in Mississippi and was a pivotal figure in area education, serving as a member of the Natchez-Adams School Board.

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&uot;Everything that he did he did for Natchez and Adams County,&uot; said Holloway, who was moved to tears as he presented the award. &uot;He did it for his family; he did it to prove that we as people can make a difference.&uot;

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., gave the keynote speech at the dinner, held at the Carriage House restaurant.

Other awards presented included the Athenian Award and the Small Business of the Year Award. Dianne Brown, owner of Coldwell Banker Brown & Co. Realtors, received the Athenian Award. Brown is past president of the Natchez Board of Realtors and a member of the board of directors of the Mississippi Association of Realtors.

&uot;The implications of this award are overwhelming,&uot; Brown said. &uot;I hope this indicates some payback for all the help I&160;have received over the years.&uot;

The Langnes family, owners of three McDonalds franchises in Natchez, received the Small Business of the Year Award. Craig and Maryann Langnes shared the award with their son and daughter-in-law, Jason and Jennifer.

Outgoing Chamber Chairman Stephanie Hutchins pointed out that Craig Langnes worked his way from McDonalds crew member to corporate consultant before he and his wife bought their own franchise in Winnsboro, La.

Their son, Jason, worked in their first Natchez franchise since he was 15.

Last year the family opened a third McDonalds franchise in Natchez, on U.S. 61 North. This year they rebuilt the store on U.S. 61 South.

&uot;We’re very happy to be here,&uot; Craig Langnes said. &uot;Our family is here, we’ve built some houses here. We plan to stay.

&uot;We thank you very much for accepting us, because we are Yankees,&uot; he said with a laugh.

In remarks before the awards were given, Cochran said he has a strong affection for Natchez and Adams County, an area he said he would like to turn into an historic showplace.

&uot;I know many of you have worked your whole lives for this dream of making Natchez a showplace for the country,&uot; Cochran said. &uot;You can count on me to help.&uot;

Hutchins also turned her duties as chairman over to Robert Russ, director of the Small Business Development Center at Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Natchez campus.

Russ said his goal for his year as chamber chairman is to make the community step outside its &uot;comfort zone.&uot;

&uot;We need to change, we’ve got to change,&uot; he said. &uot;True change only occurs when you step outside your comfort zone. … People in Natchez have a comfort zone a tank couldn’t move.&uot;