• 77°

Howell Garner named Citizen of Year

WESSON — A number of individuals were recognized Tuesday at theWesson Chamber of Commerce banquet for their contributions of timeand leadership to the town.

Dr. Howell C. Garner, president of Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege, was the recipient of the coveted Citizen of the Yearaward. Other award winners were Kevin Coleman Construction Inc.,Wayne Magee, Chris Warren, Jimmy Keys, Sharon King and JeffKnight.

The event was held in the Thames Center on the Co-Lincampus.

Garner, a Eupora native, was honored for his service to the townthrough community activities and as an administrator for over 30years.

“He is supportive of our city as we strive to meet our citizens’needs,” said chamber president Lura Greer before presenting theaward.

She commended Garner for leading Co-Lin through tough economictimes and continuing to bring benefits to the town through thecollege and its students and faculty.

Garner is in his seventh year as president of Co-Lin and servedas dean of the college from 1985-1997, as well as dean andassistant dean at the Natchez campus for 11 years.

He was shocked when he learned he was the recipient of thehighest award of the night.

“I appreciate this honor. Coming from a community like Wesson,it means a great deal to me,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed being a partof this chamber and a part of this community.”

Garner, who has been named to Who’s Who in American Education,is active in his church, civic club and professionalorganizations.

The business of the year award was presented to Kevin ColemanConstruction Inc., by town clerk Linda Dykes.

The construction company, which was started in 1996, has 30employees and works on projects in Wesson as well as other areasthroughout the state. The company is also a supporter of communityactivities.

“Each year he sponsors a summer league team in Wessonathletics,” said Dykes, also mentioning that Coleman helps out withlandscaping at Wesson Baptist Church.

Wesson Attendance Center’s Educator of the Year was Wayne Magee,a long-time mathematics teacher. He served 15 years in theBrookhaven School District and 20 years at Wesson.

“I’m not ready to retire … because I feel like I’m right whereGod wants me to be,” said Magee after accepting the award.

Another outstanding educator recognized Tuesday was ChrisWarren, who has taught at Co-Lin since 1995. He has served as ahistory, music, drum and percussion instructor as well as assistantband director.

One of two community service awards went to Jimmy Keys, ownerand operator of a carpentry shop in Wesson. Keys was recognized forhis assistance to young builders in the area, churches andindividuals in need.

“If I have helped someone along the way, I prefer to give allthe credit to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” said Keys.

Sharon King, who has been director of Wesson Baptist Church’spreschool for 11 years, was in disbelief when her husband, Scott,presented her with the second community service award of thenight.

King was in tears as she accepted the award honoring her work asa teacher of Bible based material, church pianist, director of theyouth and children’s choirs and director of the after-schoolprogram at Wesson Attendance Center.

The chamber’s leadership award went to Jeff Knight, an areaengineer who is involved in many organizations, civic groups andchurch. He also helps the town with projects, and is a member ofthe Wesson, Hazlehurst and Crystals Springs chambers ofcommerce.