Congress names Aberdeen Lock and Dam for Don Waldon, former Tenn-Tom administrator

Congress has recognized Don Waldon, a former administrator of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority, and a long-time proponent of the waterway by renaming one of its locks and dams in his honor. 

Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), with support from Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), sponsored the legislation to name the lock and dam in Waldon’s honor. The bill was included in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 that President Obama signed on June 10.

The law states: “It is the sense of Congress that, at an appropriate time in accordance with the rules of the Senate and the House of Representatives, to recognize the contributions of Donald G. Waldon, whose selfless determination and tireless work, while serving as administrator of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway for 21 years, contributed greatly to the realization and success of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Compact, that the lock and dam located at mile 357.5 on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway should be known and designated  as the Donald G. Waldon Lock and Dam.”

The designated lock and dam is the Aberdeen Lock and Dam, one of 10 locks on the waterway. The lake formed by these structures will continue to be called Aberdeen Lake.

“I congratulate my good friend, Don Waldon, on this achievement and commend his many years of service and dedication to the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway,” Wicker said. “This is an honor befitting a longtime public servant who has contributed so much to communities throughout the South.”

“Don Waldon dedicated his career to the efficient and effective operation of the Tenn-Tom, and we’re all better off for those efforts. The inland waterway is an economic asset for Mississippi that continues to foster economic opportunities throughout the region,” Cochran said .

Waldon served as administrator of the waterway’s development authority from 1984 until he retired in 2005.  He joined the four-state agency in 1975, the first four years on loan from the federal government and later as its deputy administrator.  Waldon was deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of the Interior during the Nixon-Ford administration and earlier was a principal budget examiner in the Office of Management and Budget of the Executive Office of the President. He began his career as a civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Mobile, Ala., focusing on water resources development.

“Having spent many years of my career involved with the Tenn-Tom there is not a more personal honor I could receive than to have my name associated  with this great project that is so important to the economic well-being of this region and the nation,” Waldon said. “When I joined the Tenn-Tom, construction was less than one-half completed and I witnessed the engineering, legal, and political challenges to complete the waterway, at that time the largest and most complex water resources project ever built by the Corps of Engineers. I later had the privilege of leading the four-state compact’s efforts to promote and develop Tenn-Tom’s economic, trade, recreation, and tourism potential. During those decades, I can name many individuals who helped the waterway realize the success it has achieved. They certainly deserve as much or more than me this kind of recognition by the Congress for their important contributions.”

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