Murray named first Vidalian of Year

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 7, 2000

Sidney Murray Jr. was Vidalia’s mayor for 24 years and has taken a leadership role in a landmark projects there ever since, from the Louisiana Hydroelectric plant to the Vidalia Landing riverfront development.

So perhaps it was no surprise when Murray was announced as the first-ever Vidalian of the Year at the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce’s membership banquet Monday night at the Radisson Natchez Eola Hotel.

No surprise, that is, except to Murray himself. As the crowd of about 150 people rose to its feet, he was speechless.

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&uot;I’m speechless, dumbfounded, … but grateful,&uot; Murray finally said, gazing at the trophy he received. &uot;I&160;will always cherish and remember this night.&uot;

Although Murray has been instrumental in many Vidalia developments, in his speech he gave away much of the credit to others.

&uot;There have been a lot of things I&160;have been involved in, but it takes a lot of help,&uot; Murray said. &uot;I’d like to acknowledge all the people who have helped me over the years.&uot;

Others honorees included:

— Charlie Blaney, owner of Blaney’s Oil Specialty, winner of the Bowie Business Award.

— The Gift Basket, which received the Hospitality Award and is co-owned by Sheri Fortenberry and Regina Hootsell.

— Percy Rountree Jr., who received an honorary lifetime chamber membership.

— Cindy Walker Smith, a first-grade teacher at Vidalia Lower Elementary, who was named Educator of the Year.

— Lorraine Stalians, owner of McDonald’s in Vidalia, who was named Businessperson of the Year.