The river way of life


POINT PLEASANT — Those who work, and appreciate, “the river” don’t let a little rain slow them down.

Though Friday and Saturday were a bit on the soggy side as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey blew through, the annual Tribute to the River event soldiered on. Organizers welcomed over a dozen sternwheelers, local musical entertainment and 10 kayakers total participating in two divisions as they raced a mile up and back in the Ohio River. Also, AEP’s Dan Elder was docked to welcome visitors for a tour of working towboat. “Tribute” then ended in a fireworks finale which did not disappoint, according to many who attended.

Besides educating the public on the culture and commerce of river life in the area, the event hosts a memorial service for deceased river men and women who held jobs as deckhands, cooks, pilots, captains and more. Names of local river workers who have passed on were read just prior to the Lifetime Achievement Award presentation.

Receiving the award this year was Charles “Charlie” T. Jones. Born into a family with a history of providing jobs in the mountain state, his grandfather started Amherst Madison in 1893. Cpt. Jones joined the company in 1946 following his service as a Seabees in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He is chairman of Port Amherst, Ltd., parent company of Amherst Industries and Madison Coal & Supply.

Jones has been active in industry organizations dedicated to improving American Waterways throughout his career. Amherst Industries operates towboats and provides specialized services on the Ohio, Mississippi, Monongahela, Allegheny and Kanawha rivers.

Cpt. Jones received the National Rivers Hall of Fame Award in 2001, was named West Virginian of the Year in 2004 by the Sunday Gazette-Mail, was honored in 2008 as a Distinguished West Virginian and has been inducted into the Coal Mining Hall of Fame.

Jones was presented the award by Cpt. Clifford “Butch” Leport, president of the Point Pleasant River Museum Foundation and Jack Fowler, the museum’s director.

Upon accepting his award, Jones shared a history of the area and the river’s importance.

“All this that we now have available to us, all this history, all these artifacts, we have all in one place, under cover, under roof and not out in a field someplace, because of Jack Fowler and his continued work to preserve this for us,” Jones said, with the crowd giving Fowler applause and recognition.

Jones then threw the ceremonial wreath into the Ohio River in honor of those men and women who worked their lives on the river.

Each Labor Day Weekend, the event is organized by the Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center and held at Riverfront Park. This was the first year in which fireworks were added to the event with local members of the community chipping in to finance the show that ran nearly 20 minutes over the Ohio River Saturday night.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
}
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
}
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
}
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;
}

Sternwheelers line Riverfront Park over the weekend for the annual Tribute to the River event in Point Pleasant.
http://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2017/09/web1_9.5-PPR-Boats.jpgSternwheelers line Riverfront Park over the weekend for the annual Tribute to the River event in Point Pleasant. Beth Sergent | Register

This was the first year for fireworks which were the finale for Tribute to the River on Saturday.
http://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2017/09/web1_9.5-PPR-Fireworks-.jpgThis was the first year for fireworks which were the finale for Tribute to the River on Saturday. Ed Lowe | Courtesy Suzi Konz | Courtesy

Abigail Marcum gets a little boost when getting to blow the horn on AEP’s Dan Elder, a working towboat. Visitors to the Tribute to the River could tour the vessel.
http://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2017/09/web1_9.5-PPR-Boat.jpgAbigail Marcum gets a little boost when getting to blow the horn on AEP’s Dan Elder, a working towboat. Visitors to the Tribute to the River could tour the vessel. Beth Sergent | Register

Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center Director Jack Fowler, at left, presents Cpt. Charles “Charlie” T. Jones with the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented every year at “Tribute.”
http://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2017/09/web1_9.5-PPR-Charlie.jpgPoint Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center Director Jack Fowler, at left, presents Cpt. Charles “Charlie” T. Jones with the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented every year at “Tribute.” Ed Lowe | Courtesy

The memorial service for deceased men and women who worked on “the river” was held on Saturday, with several family members attending.
http://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2017/09/web1_9.5-PPR-Service.jpgThe memorial service for deceased men and women who worked on “the river” was held on Saturday, with several family members attending. Beth Sergent | Register

Cpt. Charlie Jones prepares to toss a wreath into the Ohio River in honor of those deceased river men and women.
http://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2017/09/web1_9.5-PPR-Wreath.jpgCpt. Charlie Jones prepares to toss a wreath into the Ohio River in honor of those deceased river men and women. Ed Lowe | Courtesy

Kayakers prepare to race to the finish line, paddling a two-mile course in the Ohio River on Saturday. This was the first year for the kayak races at Tribute to the River and they are set to return.
http://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2017/09/web1_9.5-PPR-Kayakers.jpgKayakers prepare to race to the finish line, paddling a two-mile course in the Ohio River on Saturday. This was the first year for the kayak races at Tribute to the River and they are set to return. Ed Lowe | Courtesy
Tribute to the River offers remembrance, fireworks

By Beth Sergent

bsergent@aimmediamidwest.com

Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.