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Tom, Willa Moak honored for service to community

WESSON — A husband and wife team was honored Friday night atthe for their countless volunteer efforts in the local communityover three decades.

Thomas A. Moak Jr., and his wife, Willa, were presented with theBrookhaven Exchange Club’s 2000 Golden Deeds Award while receivinga standing ovation from the crowd of over 200 people gathered forthe club’s annual banquet, held at the Thames Center on the Co-Lincampus.

“These two people have blessed so many people in their lives,”said Jimmie Gillis, who presented the award.

The Moaks, who live in Bogue Chitto, were surprised anddelighted to be recipients of the coveted award.

“I’m humbled by this honor,” said Moak. “My philosophy is allthat we’re going to have when we leave this earth is what we giveaway.”

Moak is an ordained Baptist minister who has served churches inMississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee for 51 years as a minister ofmusic, minister of education and youth minister. He has been amusic leader at Bogue Chitto, Pleasant Hill and Pleasant GroveBaptist Churches, and also volunteered his services at MountPleasant Church for seven years.

His wife of 45 years taught on the kindergarten, elementary andjunior high levels in Mississippi and Louisiana for 28 years.

They Moaks have also volunteered their time at local nursinghomes, hospices and other churches.

“Every day they try to do something for someone,” Gillis said ofthe couple, mentioning how this was only the fourth time since 1952that a duo has won the award.

Another important award presented during Friday night’s ceremonywas the John L. Leary Award, which is given in memory of the formermember who displayed the true spirit of the club.

This year’s recipient was Kelly McDonald, who has served aspresident of the Brookhaven Exchange Club for seven months and hasbeen a member for over 20 years.

“He was at every Brookhaven Exchange Club function that Iattended, either leading the way or helping work on one of our manyproject this year,” said Danny Knight while presenting McDonaldwith the award.

McDonald is a graduate of Brookhaven High School andCopiah-Lincoln Community College. He is a father of two sons, andhas been married for 24 years. He is also a deacon at MacedoniaBaptist Church.

Other awards presented were numerous attendance and serviceawards. Brookhaven Exchange Club members also reflected on theevents of the past year, which included displaying American flagson holidays, donating money to several organizations, hosting theannual fair and opening up the fair grounds and rides for differentfunctions.

“You make a living by what you get, and you make a life by whatyou give,” said master of ceremonies Bill Hickman using a quotefrom Winston Churchill.