Don’t forget COTR help

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Somewhere between the trip from Mobile and Birmingham, one of the most important annual events held in Demopolis was pushed a little lower on the front page.

The people and organizations who kept the 2004 installment of Christmas on the River near the top of the page deserve a great deal of credit for their hard work and community interest.

Obviously, trying to name all the volunteers who helped organize this event is much the same as trying to thank all the people who graduated kindergarten – it’s nearly impossible. However, there is a group of folks who should be publicly lauded for their work in making this year’s COTR one of the best in recent memory.

Maybe the best place to start is somewhere in heaven, because of the incredible weather citizens and visitors enjoyed on COTR Saturday. After that, Jay Shows and Kelley Smith should be commended greatly in their first year of organizing and managing this event. Both Shows and Smith have been a boon to our community, and their hours of work must not go unnoticed.

Two local businesses also deserve a great deal of credit. Scot Cornett at NES and Roy Green at RSC continue to offer enormous support to this event. They do so unselfishly, and their businesses participate because they care about this community – not always a bottom line. Everyone in Demopolis appreciates their willingness to be called upon when needed for equipment.

The U.S. Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Corps of Engineers and the Demopolis Police Department have become staples at this community’s largest annual event. It is easy to forget their participation, but it is wrong to forget them.

Alex Braswell, who chaired this year’s COTR, did a tireless job in making sure citizens enjoyed one of the finest events we’ve seen in a while. Many other event chairs also deserve credit for their hard work.

Barry Hendrix (publicity), Allison Moore (day parade), Jack Cooley (cook-off), Ann Parsons (pageants), Kirk Brooker (Christmas in the Canebrake), Jim Stanford (finances), Johnny Brooker (races) and Mike Black (nautical parade) all should be extolled for their devotion to this year’s COTR.

Finally, Jim Parr and Stephen Gutshall have once again proven that they are the new generation of leaders for Demopolis. Both Parr and Gutshall give freely of their time to our citizens and it is unwise to take for granted their service. This year, as on most other occasions, Parr and Gutshall helped make sure every loose end was tied tight.

While there are hundreds and hundreds of others who always take part in Christmas on the River, we believe this community should recognize those who put us first.