Attendees Enjoying the Dinner
Attendees Enjoying the Dinner

February 5th of 2011 saw the presentation of the Donald T. Wright Award and the James V. Swift Medal to authors Ron Powers and Captain Charles F. Lehman. The ceremony was held at the St. Louis Mercantile Library at UM – St. Louis.

Ron Powers Accepting the Wright Award
Mr. Powers Accepting the Wright Award

Ron Powers, 2011 recipient of the Captain Donald T. Wright Award, was born in Hannibal, Missouri. He has published works as a journalist, non-fiction and fiction writer, including Mark Twain: A Life; White Town Drowsing: Journeys to Hannibal; Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain; Last Flag Down: The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship; and Flags of Our Fathers (co-written with James Bradley). Mr. Powers, a graduate of the University of Missouri, has won both an Emmy Award and a Pulitzer Prize, and currently lives in Vermont. At the awards presentation, Ron Powers gave a short speech entitled, "The River Was a Wonderful Book"

Captain Lehman accepting the Swift Award
Captain Lehman Accepting the Swift Award

Captain Charles F. Lehman, 2011 recipient of the James V. Swift Medal, has spent much of his life aboard boats. He served in the Navy during the Korean War, and also spent many years aboard towboats, in capacities ranging from deckhand to master-pilot. Later, Captain Lehman went to work for American Commercial Barge Line. He has been honored by the National Rivers Hall of Fame, and in 2009 his work A Riverman's Lexicon was published. When presented with The Swift Award, Captain Lehman gave a short remark regarding his career and writings.

Charles Brown, bookseller!
Charles Brown, Bookseller!

Books by the authors were for sale to attendees, and both Mr. Powers and Captain Lehman were kind enough to sign them!

The Calm Before the Storm
The Calm Before the Storm

The lower level of the Mercantile Library was made up to look like the dining area of a steamboat. The John Hartford Stringband provided music for the event.

The John Hartford Stringband
The John Hartford Stringband

The event was attended by around 100 people, who also enjoyed the chance to win many unique items in a silent auction, including a towboat ride to New Orleans donated by AEP River Operations.