Every level of contribution honored during tourism ceremony

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NATCHEZ — Every guest in Natchez wants clean sheets to sleep on, so someone has to make the bed.

And during the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce 2009 Tourism Awards ceremony, every level of contribution to the area’s tourism industry was recognized.

René Adams, co-chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Tourism Council, said so many people contribute that it was only appropriate to spotlight every point of influence — from the housekeepers to the property owners.

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“So many times the home owners and property owners get the recognitions, but they aren’t doing it alone,” she said. “It is an entire team effort. Everyone plays a part.”

Adams said when looking at the list of award winners she was struck by the diversity of the group that was nominated for the awards by their peers. She said the list speaks volumes about how many people are working to promote Natchez as a tourism destination.

And not everyone honored was directly employed in the tourism industry, something Adams said illustrates the community’s support of Natchez.

“Everyone plays a part in some way,” she said. “Whether it is the convenience store worker or the gas station attendant, everyone can influence someone else’s opinion of Natchez.”

Alderman Bob Pollard, chairman of the tourism committee, said citizens need to understand that no matter their position in the community, they do have an impact on the health of the tourism industry in Natchez.

“What everyone does, and on every level, is important in terms of tourism,” Pollard said. “It doesn’t have to be the high level to be important.”

Receiving recognition as a Tourism Super Star for their work to promote Natchez were Layne Taylor, Landon Henry, Steve Ritchie, Ginger Hyland, Johnathan Wood, Candice Braisier, Anna Guning, Angie Singletary, John Sauls, Jay Carlisle, Dot Clark, Mike Jones, Doris Knight, Malan Parks, Vanessa James, Lawrence Smith, Regina Charboneau, Ronnie Bruce and Carrie Lambert.

Receiving special recognition awards for their work spearheading tourism projects were Chuck Borum, for his work with the Natchez Powwow, and David Gardner for his work on the Natchez Trails Project.

The Mint Julep Awards were presented to individuals with a rich legacy of dedication to the tourism industry. This years recipients were Jim and Ruthie Coy, Bob Cannon, Katherine Killelea and Bonnie Woodard.

Honored posthumously for their tourism contributions were Dr. Don Killelea, Floyd McCalip, Dr. David Blackburn, Ruth Havard, Thurston and Mary Frances Jones, Dr. Eugene Taylor, Jimmy Pippen, Andre Farrish, Troyce Guice, Suzi Ricci, Carolyn Adams Wilson, Carolyn Parker Winters, Mike Byrne and Newt Wilds.

Historic Jefferson College was named attraction of the year for the expansion of projects implemented by branch director Robin Person.

The Towers, ArtsNatchez Gallery and the Natchez National Historical Park were all named properties of the year.