Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel Company initiated its second century of "growin’ on the river" Thursday night by giving Jefferson County a million reasons to believe in a brighter future.

Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel Company initiated its second century of "growin’ on the river" Thursday night by giving Jefferson County a million reasons to believe in a brighter future.


Literally.


The extended family of the late Wallace P. McGeorge Sr. — who founded the company on Nov. 20, 1913 — decided the best way to celebrate its 100th anniversary was to give $1 million toward the start of a PARK (Positive Attitude Reaches Kids) after-school mentoring program.


The donation capped an anniversary gala at the Pine Bluff Country Club that was attended by about 350 people, all of whom likely would agree that current PBS&G President Scott McGeorge and Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brian McGeorge — a respective grandson and great-grandson of the founder — really know how to throw a party.


PARK — created by former professional football player Keith Jackson of Little Rock — aims at encouraging youth to earn high school diplomas and avoid the negative impacts of poverty, drug abuse and crime. Seventy-one percent of PARK’s graduates have gone on to attend college, according to a McGeorge family spokesman.


Accepting the gift from the McGeorge family were Mayor Debe Hollingsworth, Pine Bluff School District Superintendent Linda Watson, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff football coach Monte Coleman and PARK Program Director Kareem Moody of Little Rock. Jackson was unable to attend as he was attending a football game in which his son was playing.


The presentation garnered loud applause and a standing ovation.


"This is an absolutely wonderful investment in our city and county by the McGeorge family and Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel," Hollingsworth said. "I believe with all my heart that it will reap dividends for generations to come."


Hollingsworth noted that the company has historically provided financial support to local charitable and community causes .


A video on PBS&G — which was started after W.P. McGeorge Sr. made a $25 down payment on a stern-wheel sand-sucker boat a year before incorporating his firm — depicted the company’s rich history, one that has blossomed with a culture of family. The video, which featured both comical and sensitive moments, spoke of the company’s successes and steady expansion into new ventures and five other states.


But the theme of the production was "people."


The video included segments on workers and their spouses and children, the company’s focus on safety and its pride in serving its employees and customers. Scott McGeorge spoke of the company’s many contributions through careful preservation of farm lands, restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast after recent hurricanes, and long-ago endeavors to decrease flood possibilities along the Arkansas River in Jefferson County.


"The company didn’t accidentally keep going the past 100 years," Scott McGeorge said.