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Exchange Club honors officers, firefighter with Blue-Gold Awards

WESSON – Brookhaven and Lincoln County’s best law enforcementofficers and firefighters were honored Friday night as a part ofthe Exchange Club’s Division Seven Inter-Club Meeting at the BillyB. Thames Center on the Copiah-Lincoln Community Collegecampus.

“It’s not only an honor, but a privilege to be able to do this,”said Alvin Brown about presenting the Blue and Gold Awards. “Thesegentlemen take pride in what they do or they wouldn’t be in lawenforcement.”

Master of ceremonies Stan Foster said the men being recognized,as well as their fellow firefighters and law enforcement officers,should be seen as heroes.

“We talk about the troops overseas, but we have troops on theground here,” he said. “These men and women are laying their liveson the line every day.”

The first award was given to the area Trooper of the Year, whichwent to Corp. Ellis Hollingsworth of the Mississippi HighwayPatrol. In passing on the award, Master Sgt. Eddie Sellers calledhim a man of “high professionalism and integrity.”

“In the past year he had an encounter with a violator that hissupervisors all said would have been justified in ending with theviolator’s death,” said Sellers. “But because of his integrity andmoral character, it did not.”

Hollingsworth has been a member of the Highway Patrol since1996.

“Being considered Trooper of the Year, when your peers nominateyou and vote for you, it’s an honor to be able to serve on thehighway patrol and to be selected,” said Hollingsworth. “Being atrooper is more than just writing a citation and locking somebodyup. We change flats, we give people assistance and we’re involvedin different activities, just trying to be all-around servants tothe public.”

Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing presented the award forSheriff’s Deputy of the Year to Captain of Investigations JohnnyHall.

“He’s a greatly dedicated officer, and has worked hard for usfor about 10 years. He’s dedicated to his work and does a good jobfor the people of Lincoln County,” said Rushing.

Hall said he was overwhelmed and overjoyed at having beenchosen.

“It made me feel like I’m doing my job right and people in thecommunity respect me,” said Hall. “I’m glad my boss respects me andI want to do a good job for him and the people in thecommunity.”

Officer Marzell Brooks was awarded Brookhaven Policeman of theYear.

“It’s a blessing to have you all behind us,” said BrookhavenPolice Chief Pap Henderson. “When we do this every year, there’salways one that stands out, and Marzell Brooks has been a dedicatedofficer since 1992. There are great things in store for this youngman.”

Brookhaven Fire Chief Bob Watts spoke of a fireman’s duty bothin and out of uniform when he presented the award for Fireman ofthe Year to firefighter Stanley Dixon.

“To me, a fireman is a fireman all the time, not just on duty,”he said. “I chose Stanley because of his character, because herepresents us well both on and off the job. When they came to meabout this award, I said, ‘I’ve got my man.'”

Dixon said the award was an honor, but it is an honor he owes tobeing a part of what he considers a family.

“I thank my chief first and foremost for having the faith in meto give me an award of this measure,” he said. “I have a greatfamily at the department, and there’s so much to being a fireman. Inever thought it would have so much effect on me, but I’m reallythankful to be a part of this family.”

Featured speaker Dr. Jerry Mixon, of Madison, reminded clubmembers of their duties to the public servants of the area.

“Take these guys to lunch if you get the chance, or give them anencouraging word if you see them,” he said. “Remember why it iswe’re safe today.”

In other exchange club news, the district is still leading thenation’s exchange clubs in growth with 11 new members and four newclubs this year. Members were encouraged to constantly bebrainstorming places to add new clubs.