by Maggie E. Matuschka

The Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce awarded the Northwestern State University Track and Field team with $1,500 in appreciation for their volunteer support during the Light the Way 5k and Fun Run. This annual 5k takes place under the Christmas lights in historic downtown Natchitoches. Over 260 runners competed in this race in 2021, with participants traveling from across the region to attend the event.

This informal partnership formed in 2019 when the Chamber offered to host the Light the Way 5k in lieu of the traditional Christmas 5k the NSU Track team has hosted on Christmas Festival Day. The Chamber plans and markets the event, and the track team helps promote the race, man registration, and line the course the night of the race.

“The best partnerships are mutually beneficial,” stated Chamber President Laura Lyles. “The NSU Track Team is a tremendous help to us, and we are happy to be able to support their stellar program in appreciation for all they do to help the race go smoothly.”

“It’s always a pleasure to give back to the community! Working with the Chamber with the Light the Way 5k is a great way that our student athletes can interact with the community and give back,” states NSU Head Track & Field Coach Mike Heimerman.

Light the Way 5k is a fundraiser for the A+ Coalition, the Chamber’s education initiative. The A+ Coalition works to bring members of the community together to advance education in Natchitoches Parish. The Chamber recognizes the importance of education to the success and growth of our community, and understands that the responsibility lies not only on the shoulders of our educators, but on the entire community at large. The A+ Coalition aims to offer a platform for organizations and individuals to get involved, stay informed, and give of their time and resources to make an impact on education in Natchitoches Parish. To learn more about the A+ Coalition, visit

The Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to making the Natchitoches area a thriving business community by promoting commerce, strengthening people, and improving life. Learn more about the Chamber at Banner Ad
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