Community Center hosts annual Ducks Unlimited banquet Thursday

Published 3:06 am Sunday, November 21, 2010

NATCHEZ — Cameron Lohstoeter may be from England, Ark., but he takes a trip to Natchez every November.

Lohstoeter is a member of the Little Rock chapter of Ducks Unlimited, and when the Natchez chapter hosts its annual banquet, he makes a point to drive five hours to attend the event.

“This is a nice historic town on the Mississippi River, and Little Rock is on the river too, so we have that in common,” Lohstoeter said.

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“This is just a great spot. There are good people here, and everything down here is fun. I love the state of Mississippi and being invited is always fun.”

Lohstoeter was in town Thursday night at the Natchez Community Center for the Ducks Unlimited banquet. Lohstoeter said he’s been hunting since he was a young boy, and Ducks Unlimited has good people involved trying to preserve wetlands.

“It’s for a good cause, and it always has nice venues,” he said. “I haven’t met anyone involved in it that I didn’t like. It’s all for the common good of the waterfowl and habitats.”

Michael Jaynes, who was in charge of organizing the banquet, is Lohstoeter’s friend who always invites him to Natchez. Jaynes said the Natchez chapter hasn’t lost any fundraising steam despite the tough economic times.

“As of last year’s banquet, we were the only chapter in the state of Mississippi to have raised more money than the previous year for seven consecutive years,” Jaynes said.

“This year, we’re going for our eighth straight year. That says a lot about the community. It shows that it cares about conservation and wants to give back.”

Guests were treated to streak dinners, a live auction and a silent auction Thursday night. Ducks Unlimited supplied the auction items, and there were also vendor items being given away based on name drawings.

Cullen Foley, the Natchez chapter’s treasurer, said the community stepped up big for the banquet this year.

“All the proceeds go to our national headquarters,” Foley said. “There are a lot of good people involved. Times are tight, but local businesses are doing whatever they can to help.”

Jaynes said the interest in Ducks Unlimited goes beyond that of duck hunters.

“We have people from all walks of life involved,” he said. “We give away good items and auction off good items. It’s a non-profit (organization), so everyone benefits.”