Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel Co. recently christened a new towboat in honor of Gerald W. Majors, who worked at the company more than 30 years and still serves on boards of several agencies connected to the business, a spokesman said.
The christening was held Oct. 6 during a ceremony attended by more than 350 people.
The boat, M/V Gerald Majors, is the last of three new boats purchased by Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel to support its quarry and marine construction operations.
The vessel is powered by twin EMD engines with a total of 6,000 HP. The boat is 165 feet long and will normally operate on the Mississippi River between New Orleans and the company’s quarry near Paducah, Ky.
Mark Lemoine, Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel vice president for marine operations, noted that the boat is capable of pushing 30 loaded barges with a capacity of 40,000 tons per trip, the equivalent of 1,600 trailer trucks or 400 rail cars.
Scott McGeorge of Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel noted the company’s start in Pine Bluff in 1913 by his grandfather, and its growth over the years, moving from steam engines and paddlewheels to the modern vessels in the current fleet.
He also commented on Majors’ role at the company, starting in 1967 as an accountant and providing service to the company after semi-retirement in 2002. Much of that time was spent as secretary- treasurer or financial vice president.
“We thank you for all you have done for the people, organization and our family over the 45 years with us and are proud to name this boat in your honor,” McGeorge said.
Members of the Majors family, including his wife, Sue, their two sons and their three grandchildren, were on hand and participated in the ceremonial christening, with Majors breaking the ceremonial bottle on the side rail of the boat.
The ceremony also included presentations of an American flag by Capt. William M. Drelling of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Holy Bible by Rev. Pam Estes, pastor of Lakeside Methodist Church, and the ship’s bell by Brian McGeorge, vice president of the company.
All of these items were presented to the vessel’s captain, Andrew McKinney. Mayor Noel Foster of White Hall presented a proclamation declaring “Gerald Majors Day” in the City of White Hall where Gerald Majors and his wife reside. The McGeorge family presented a large photograph of the vessel to Majors.
After the ceremony, the crowd toured the vessel and held a reception at the Peabody Hotel.