John, Sharon Goodrich win Steckler Award
Published 12:22 am Monday, October 20, 2014
NATCHEZ — Community involvement means being involved in the community, and John and Sharon Goodrich proved themselves worthy of just that.
For years, John and Sharon have touched the lives of people around them through volunteering with the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race. This weekend, they were honored with the Spirit of Steckler Award.
“If there is no one behind the scenes, this race would not be possible,” Bill Cunningham said.
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The Steckler Award is named after the late Dr. David Steckler, who was a longtime supporter of the balloon race. Steckler died from cancer in 1999. Since then, the award is given in his honor to a volunteer who has contributed their time to the race.
John and Sharon have played many different roles over the years.
From sponsorship chairmen and decorating the VIP tent to being electricians in the sports tent.
“The Great Mississippi River Balloon Race volunteers define the sprit of giving,” Peter Burns said. “They have given their time and talent.”
As John and Sharon received their awards, Sharon shared some kind words about Steckler.
“As a retired national cemetery director, the best thing that can be left by a person is what people say about them after they’re gone — David Steckler is one of the best remembered people I have ever seen,” Sharon said.
John said when he came to Natchez, he found there were gaps that needed to be filled with volunteering.
“Volunteerism is a great thing,” John said. “You get good self-esteem.”
John said, in his mind, all the pilots who compete in the race are also volunteers.
“I don’t think that you realize the importance that you create when you fly your balloons,” John said.
John said he and Sharon grew up with a family of volunteers — molding them into who they are today.
A plaque honoring all Steckler award winners is displayed year-round at the Natchez Visitors’ Center.