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George Watts Deserves His Lifetime Achievement Award; Dredge Goetz Is Warmly Welcomed to the Upper Mississippi River

When I walked into a Kansas City hotel for the first WEDA meeting in 1979, George and Suzanne Watts and Eric and Birgitta Seagren were in the lobby greeting people. Though I had talked to George and Eric on the phone, it was the first time we had met in person. It was the beginning of a long and pleasant professional relationship, which, like many in this industry, were personal friendships as well.

George Watts guided the Western Dredging Association through its beginning years with dedication and professionalism, and well deserves the award he received at the group's 25th annual meeting in June. The text of the award is on page 10 of this issue. Though George wasn't able to be in New Orleans for health reasons, his friends all concurred with this award and wish him and Suzanne the best.

Another of George’s legacies is his love of golf, and the annual George Watts Open, held the day before each WEDA meeting, honors this avocation.

The christening ceremony for the Dredge Goetz in Winona, Minnesota was held just days after the WEDA meeting, and I was not able to attend in person. However, Marc Krumholz, Dredge Goetz project manager, has submitted a report on the event, on page 7 of this issue.

The Winona television station produced a DVD of the ceremony, with all the speeches by Corps people, Bill Goetz's family, and the designers and builders of the dredge.

Bill Goetz was our friend, and it was comforting to hear him spoken of so kindly by his family and colleagues. Looking through some old pictures, I came across a number of Bill, who was active in WEDA, and who was an officer in the Midwest chapter.

Of note on the christening video was Pete de Jong's description of his life for the past 18 months during construction. The master of ceremonies called Pete the "father of the Dredge Goetz", because of his work with the Marine Design Center, Oilfield Electric Marine, and LeTourneau Shipyard to create a state-of-the-art vessel custom made for the environment where it will work.

On the DVD is a performance of the song “Dredging Up Memories” by local singer/songwriter Eddie Allen. Dan Krumholz explained that the navigation group in Fountain City contracted with Eddie to compose the song, and he did it so well that it seems that he is a dredgeman and had experienced the things he sang about. The song is an excellent companion piece to Joe Germano's "Grant Me a Permit", and I have high hopes of an album of dredging songs in the future.

I've made up a little ad on page 14, (on Website, see below) telling where to get the DVD and Eddie Allen's CD containing the song (which is also on the DVD). Eddie writes and sings about the river and riverboats, and his CD should be good.

Dan Krumholz says that a Dredge Thompson video documentary will be available in the next few months, to be sold through the St. Paul District Web site. Watch IDR and our Web site for news of this video.
Judith Powers
Editor

Dredge Goetz Christening Video
To receive a DVD or VHS of the event, held in Winona, Minnesota on June 24,
contact Robert Pack at HBC in Winona. Phone: 507-453-5273

Dredging Up Memories
A song about the Dredge W.A. Thompson
by Eddie Allen
A bonus track on his CD.
Write PO Box 224
Trempealeau, WI 54661

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