Toasting together: Stahlman, Perkins receive top honors

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat — Judy Stahlman, right, toasts to her husband, Cappy Stahlman, left, who was named the 2012 Natchezian Man of the Year during the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala Monday evening at the Natchez Convention Center.

NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce gathered Monday evening to raise a toast to business and to name the Natchezians of the Year at its annual membership gala.

The theme of the night was “A Toast to Business,” and Chamber President Debbie Hudson said it was important to raise a glass in salute to local commerce.

“It really is an appropriate time to honor and express goodwill toward our local businesses, large and small, public and private, and to all the individuals within them who mean so much to our community,” she said.

Margaret Perkins hugs René Adams Monday evening after being named the 2012 Natchezian Woman of the Year.

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During the dinner, Margaret Perkins was named as Natchez Woman of the Year.

Hudson said Perkins — who is the president and chief executive officer of First Natchez Radio Group — has continually worked to extol the virtues of the Miss-Lou community not only locally but throughout the state.

“She is a true missionary for Natchez and our region,” Hudson said.

Perkins serves on the boards of Natchez Inc., Natchez Now, the Historic Natchez Foundation and the Miss-Lou Regionalism Steering Committee.

“There is hardly a civic organization in our area that has not gotten (Perkins’) attention in some way — and they are better for it,” Hudson said.

The nod for Natchez Man of the Year went to Cappy Stahlman, who — among other things — helped found the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race and serves as the chairman of the board for United Mississippi Bank.

Stahlman’s work in the community has made a real difference for good in the community for a significant period of time, Hudson said.

“(Stahlman is) a Chamber member whose life is a great example to all of us what community service and an ambassador for Natchez can mean,” she said.

Hudson noted that Stahlman has worked as both the past chair of the Natchez Economic Development Authority and currently serves as a managing member of the Riverview RV Park and Resort.

“His service to the community has been legion,” she said. “Regionalism is his middle name.

The small business of the year award was given to Stephens and Hobdy Insurance, while Concordia Bank and Trust was recognized as the large business of the year.

During the dinner, chef and author Robert St. John spoke about the things he appreciated about being from the South.

At the end of the evening, incoming Chamber Chairman Chuck Caldwell raised a toast to the members.

“I want to raise a toast to you, the chamber members, because you define what Natchez is for the community,” he said.

Concordia Bank & Trust board Chairman Johnny Dale, center, accepts the award for Large Business of the Year.

Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat — Tate Hobdy, Jack Stephens and Braxton Hobdy of Stephens and Hobdy Insurance accept the Small Business of the Year Award from Chamber Chairman Charlie Speed, far right, and gala speaker Robert St. John, far left.