On March 27, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District hosted at Christening Ceremony for the Motor Vessel Bill Black and the Motor Vessel Al Workman.
Bill Black (1918-2008), formerly of Clarksville, transferred in 1967 to the Little Rock District and the Kerr–McClellan Navigation system on the Arkansas River.
He along with Al Workman became one of the first lockmasters on the river. Bill then became chief of lock operations for locks from Little Rock to Fort Smith.
Therefore, the Corps of Engineers have named boats after both of these men for their pioneering efforts. In their speeches, both John Balgavy, chief of the operations division, and Colonel Glen Masset referenced that they were pioneers of the Kerr-McClellan Navigation system and built the base for which lock operations on the river currently operate.
Several Pike County residents traveled to Merissach Recreation Center near Tichnor, Ark. and Lock 2 for the christening ceremony.
Those attending were Larry and Susan Beauchamp of Annada, Allie Jim Wombles and Gage Gregory of Clarksville, Mary Dell Black and Rick Hill of Sunrise Beach, and Anne Beauchamp of Columbia. They joined about 40 others in this celebration.