David Cauthen wins Steckler Spirit Award

Published 12:03 am Saturday, October 15, 2011

Natchez — Before the first balloon lifts off and before the first race-goers set foot on the bluff, one man is behind the scenes serving as the spark that powers the Great Mississippi Balloon Race to life.

David Cauthen volunteers his time to set up the public address system, hook up lights and power everything from the stage lights to the corndog stands at the Rosalie bicentennial gardens for the race.

Cauthen is the recipient of the annual Spirit of Steckler Award. The award is given each year to a volunteer who has contributed greatly to the race.

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Balloon race committee member Candi Davis said Cauthen is an “unsung hero.”

“He’s who makes this possible,” she said pointing to one of hundreds light bulbs strung up all over the festival site.

The award is a surprise every year for the recipient.

“I am totally shocked,” Cauthen said.

The balloon race means a great deal to Natchez, Cauthen said, and he enjoys being a part of it.

Cauthen said he would have been content staying in the background and behind the scenes.

“When you donate your time and you do things, you do it because you love it.”