John Paul Hammerschmidt, Member of Congress, Harrison, Arkansas. He has been a leading congressional supporter and activist for continued funding and construction of the Arkansas River Navigation System. Following the death of Sen. John McClellan, he was the chief congressional booster, until his retirement in 1993 after 28 years in Congress, and has been in the forefront of efforts to construct Montgomery Point Lock and Dam. As the ranking member of the House Public Works and Transportation Authorization Committee, he was responsible for reaffirmation by the House of Representatives that Montgomery Point Lock and Dam is still an authorized project.
John A. Riggs, Jr., Little Rock, Arkansas. He was a long time supporter and advocate for the Arkansas River Navigation System starting in the early 1930's. He has been a member and past president of the Arkansas Basin Association and a member of the Tri-State Committee. He also served as a member of the Mississippi Valley Association and the Pulaski County Flood Control Association of which he was president for many years. He was instrumental in seeking Congressional support for funding and construction for the navigation system.
J. W. Hull, Russellville, Arkansas. He was an activist in seeking authorization and funding of the Arkansas River Navigation Project. He was one of the early members of the Arkansas Basin Association and the only person to be elected president twice. He also served on the Tri-State Committee. He was an active member of the Mississippi Valley Association working to assure support of the Arkansas River Navigation project. He made numerous visits to Washington, D.C., as a member of the Arkansas delegation testifying for appropriations. He was instrumental in securing support for a veto effort that started construction of Dardanelle Lock and Dam.
Justus Fugate, Wichita, Kansas. He became involved in water resources in Kansas in 1959 after being elected Mayor of Wichita. He made several trips to Washington, D.C. to obtain approval of Cheney Reservoir. He prepared the charter and articles of incorporation for MAVDA, the Mid Ark Valley Development Association, and served as its president and later was chairman of the board. MAVDA was an organization seeking to extend navigation from Tulsa to Wichita. He was appointed to the Kansas Water Resources Board and served three terms and was chairman of the board twice. He made many trips to Washington, D.C., as a member of contingents going to testify in congressional budget hearings.
Joseph "Joe" Howell, Tulsa, Oklahoma. This veteran reporter and columnist wrote for the Tulsa Tribune for more than 50 years and wrote for the Tulsa World when the Tribune closed. He was widely acclaimed as the most knowledgeable writer in Oklahoma on the Arkansas River Navigation System, roads and water projects in general. He also had extensive knowledge of the politics involved with those subjects. He edited the Arkansas Basin Development Association (ABDA) newsletter for many years keeping the four-state members up to date on water projects and their appropriations from Congress. He wrote countless stories and columns on the economic benefits the navigation system would bring to the Arkansas River Basin. He watched the construction of the locks and dams and the upstream lakes in Oklahoma, attended the dedication of the navigation system in 1971 and has been on many inspection tours of the navigation system with the Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard to see that the system is working and if repairs are needed. He donated his vast photographic archive of the construction of the navigation system to the Arkansas River Historical Society in 1988.
Lt. Gen. (Ret. ) John W. Morris, Washington, D.C. He was District Engineer of the Tulsa District of the Corps of Engineers from 1962-1965. During his tour in Tulsa, the two main dams under construction for flood control on the Arkansas River, Keystone and Eufaula were completed, thus taming the river. The late president Lyndon Johnson was the guest speaker at the dedication of Eufaula. The numerous relocations at Eufaula Dam were accomplished during his tenure. The construction contracts for Webbers Falls, Robert S. Kerr and W. D. Mayo locks
and dams, all on the Arkansas River were started during his stay in Tulsa. He had a major role in the decision of locating the head of navigation and thus the turning basin for the navigation system. He also was the first Tulsa district engineer to use the value-engineering concept. It is a process whereby contractors share with the Corps any savings if the contractor devises a more economical way of doing something required in the contract. He was named Chief of Engineers in 1976 and retired from the Army upon completion of his tour as Chief.
Myron DeGeer,Tulsa, Oklahoma. He had 35 years of outstanding professional service with the Tulsa District of the Corps and was chief of the Engineering Division from 1963 until his retirement in 1971. He provided leadership and uncommon engineering ability in managing the creation of engineering plans for the Oklahoma portion of the Navigation System. He was recognized as the area's foremost authority on the development of the water resources of the Arkansas-Red basin complex. He was awarded the Department of the Army's second highest honor, the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, for outstanding planning and design of the District's portion of the navigation system. He also was the first Tulsa District employee ever to receive the Decoration of Exceptional Civilian Service, the highest honorary award granted by the Secretary of the Army to Army civilian employees.
Verser Hicks, Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was a long time supporter of the Arkansas River Navigation System. He was vice chairman of the board and a former president of the Arkansas Basin Development Association from 1959-1964, the inter-state organization that spearheaded the vast improvement program for the Arkansas River. He also was president of the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, member of the Tulsa County Fair Board and president of the Tulsa Farm Club. He has been vice-president, executive vice-president and president of the Fourth National Bank and worked closely with Newt Graham in getting the Arkansas River Navigation System authorized. He was a leading figure in the civic life of Tulsa.
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