Allen wins Natchezian award

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 17, 2005

Natchez &8212; No one receiving an award for service to Natchez could quite take the credit Thursday night at the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce&8217;s annual dinner.

&8220;This is not about me and what I&8217;ve done,&8221; said Woody Allen, chairman of the Economic Development Authority and winner of the Natchezian Award, as he noted that economic development is a team effort.

&8220;We are on the right track,&8221; Allen said. &8220;For it to happen, it&8217;s going to take everybody working together.&8221;

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In addition to his work with the EDA, Allen was instrumental in establishing Beau Pre Country Club and has been active in the chamber of commerce and the Natchez Planning Commission.

&8220;He has done so much with no prospect of personal reward,&8221; last year&8217;s Natchezian Judge John Hudson said as he introduced Allen.

Like Allen, Athena Award winner Arella Bacon said the honor was not about her.

&8220;This is for the children,&8221; the longtime volunteer and founder of local Ruritan clubs said. &8220;This is for the children.&8221;

Bacon, who is also instrumental in Keep Adams County Beautiful, was recognized as &8220;outspoken, daring and willing to help&8221; by state Athena chairman Janet Sullivan. The Athena Award is presented to a woman in the community for her integrity, honor and commitment to community.

Supermarket Operations &8212; the family-owned company behind several local grocery stores &8212; was honored as Business of the Year. Supermarket Operations, founded in 1969 by Harley Loy, operates eight supermarkets, including three in Natchez and two in Concordia Parish.

&8220;I want to say thank you on behalf of the Loy family and our 400 associates,&8221; retail operations director Barry Loy said. &8220;We thank the community for supporting us for 36 years. We couldn&8217;t do it without you.&8221;

The final award presented was a new one &8212; the Community Champion. Bruce Brice Sr., a retiree to Natchez, was honored for his work to promote the city.

&8220;We&8217;ll just keep doing whatever we can to help Natchez grow,&8221; he said.

Chamber members also heard from Maj. Theodore &8220;Dutch&8221; Van Kirk, who was the navigator of the Enola Gay.

&8220;I&8217;m just going to tell you a war story,&8221; Van Kirk told the audience before launching into an account of events that led up to the day his plane dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, signaling the end of World War II.

&8220;Everyone wonders why we hit Hiroshima,&8221; Van Kirk said. &8220;There were over 100 numbered military targets there. &8230; and we took them all out with one bomb.&8221;

Van Kirk said the United States dropped the second bomb three days later &8212; which hit Nagasaki &8212; so that the Japanese would know the U.S. had more than one, which led Japan to its unconditional surrender.

&8220;There is absolutely no question in my mind that bomb saved lives,&8221; Van Kirk said.