• 70°

Banquet recognizes town service

The tireless efforts of community leaders to improve the townwere recognized during a gathering of businessmen, volunteers andpublic officials Tuesday night at the Wesson Chamber of CommerceBanquet.

The annual banquet recognizes the achievements of those whostrive to provide a better quality of life among the town’sresidents and show the chamber’s appreciation to business andcommunity leaders.

Mayor Alton Shaw stressed town leaders needed more than promisesof support; they needed the time and efforts of volunteers toprogress.

“This will sound funny at first, but hear me out,” Shaw said. “Idon’t want your support. I want your involvement, ideas, thoughts,participation and a little bit of your time. If you do that, thetown will have your support.”

Wesson was, at one time, the fastest growing municipalitybetween Jackson and the Gulf Coast, Shaw said, and the town neededto find the energy to reclaim that notoriety.

“If you keep on doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keepmaking what you’re making,” he said. “There is so much untappedpotential here. We need to tap into that.”

There are good things happening in Wesson, Shaw said. He saidfive subdivisions were being built at the moment and that showedpositive progress. He also pointed to renovations at the St.Ambrose Leadership School.

“There hasn’t been any construction, but I promise you work isbeing done on it,” Shaw said.

The estimated $1.5 million to renovate the historic structuremore than doubled after Hurricane Katrina, he said, because ofrising material and labor costs.

Maggie Wade, co-anchor of the WLBT nightly news and a CrystalSprings native, was the guest speaker for the event. Wade brushedupon a variety of topics, including the need to reclaim control ofthe present from the children.

Discipline is desperately needed in the schools, where there hasbeen a rise in teacher assaults, mostly by elementary students, inrecent years, she said. Wade said parents have stopped instilling arespect of others in children and have created the “me”generation.

“We give our children so much control, but we don’t give themthe consequences to go with it,” she said.

She also talked of the plight of foster children in the state.Wade hosts the popular and successful “Wednesday’s Child,” asegment featuring foster children in the state in need of permanenthomes.

Award winners at the banquet included:

* Minnie Wooten, Good Citizen Award

* Salon 51, Business of the Year

* Ronnie Earls and William Brown Sr., Community ServiceAward

* M.T. Byrd, Ageless Hero Award

* Alton Shaw, Leadership Award

* Wayne Magee and Terry Munn, Educators of the Year

* Laura McCardle, Founders Day Queen

* Trey Fisher, Founders Day Ambassador.