Price awarded Steckler honor

Published 12:06 am Monday, October 22, 2007

NATCHEZ — In the months leading up to the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race, Babs Price is everywhere.

She’s serving as secretary for the balloon race committee, taking notes and keeping everyone informed.

She’s organizing the sponsor party and awards breakfasts.

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In short, she is everywhere she’s needed.

That’s why Price won the Spirit of Steckler award this year, award committee chairwoman Candi Davis said.

The award is named for Dr. David Steckler, a Natchez resident and volunteer who was instrumental from the beginning in making the balloon race a success.

Every year, the award goes to a balloon race volunteer who has given selflessly and gone beyond what is expected, Davis said.

“Babs, for 14 years, has been one of the ones who just does what it takes,” Davis said.

The winner was announced at Friday’s balloon glow, and Price received award at Sunday morning’s ceremony.

“It’s very exciting,” Price said. “It was totally unexpected. I had no idea it was happening.”

The award meant a lot to her, Price said.

To join those who have received the award in years past is an award itself, she said.

“The people I’m sharing the award with are incredible people,” she said. “It’s such an honor.”

But standing before a crowd of volunteers, pilots and crewmembers was a new experience, she said.

“I like being behind the scenes doing things,” Price said. “Being out in front like this is unusual for me.”

Price said she and the many other volunteers don’t volunteer for the recognition.

“We do it four our hometown, for Natchez,” she said.

Because of the number of dedicated volunteers, the decision was difficult, Davis said.

“There are hundreds of volunteers who made this event successful,” she said.

Volunteers make the balloon race happen, she said.

“We’ve watched people give everything,” Davis said. “This is what we want to give back, a small amount of recognition.”

Price’s name will be placed on a plaque that hangs in the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.