Eidt wins SGMA 2000 Heroes award for state of Mississippi

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 12, 2000

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association recently named Joseph Eidt III of Natchez as its 2000 SGMA Heroes Awards winner from the state of Mississippi.

Eidt was selected for his over 23 years of hard work and dedication to youth sports in the community.

&uot;It was quite a surprise and a shock,&uot; Eidt said of the award. &uot;It was quite an honor just to be nominated. I never expected anything like this.&uot;

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One person who is not surprised that Eidt is the state winner is the one who nominated him — Natchez mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith.

&uot;I think he’s well-deserving of this,&uot; Smith said. &uot;He’s volunteered for a long time.&uot;

Eidt is the third Natchezian to be named state winner of the SGMA Heroes Award since 1996.

In 1996, Henry Lee Harris, founder of Natchez’s USTA/National Junior Tennis League for Disadvantaged Children, was the state and national winner.

In 1999, Joe Fortunato, who runs the Joe Fortunato Celebrity Golf Classic, was the state winner.

&uot;Just following them is something in itself,&uot; Eidt said. &uot;It’s quite an honor just to be named in the same breath as those two.&uot;

&uot;It sounds like carrying on a family tradition,&uot; Smith said.

Eidt has served as a volunteer coach in youth baseball, basketball and football since 1977. He has served on the Dixie Youth baseball league Board of Directors, as commissioner for the youth basketball league, and was a co-founder of the Youth Football League.

He is also a member of the Cathedral School Athletic Booster Club, where he has served as president and vice-president, and is currently a member of the finance committee. He has also served as chairman of the City of Natchez Recreation Council Citizen Advisory Board.

As one of the 51 state winners (including the District of Columbia) for the SGMA Heroes Awards, Eidt will receive a $100 cash prize and $400 will be donated in his name to the Cathedral School Athletic Association, Natchez Dixie Youth Baseball, Natchez Dixie Boys Baseball and the City of Natchez Recreation Department Tennis Lights Donation Account.

&uot;Those (Natchez Dixie Youth and Natchez Dixie Boys) are the two baseball leagues that I’ve coached in,&uot; Eidt said.

&uot;As far as Cathedral, I have two boys playing there,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re also putting lights on at Duncan Park (Tennis Courts), so I just wanted to contribute to that.&uot;

Eidt is also eligible to be selected as one of three national winners.