Chamber marks year of development

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 16, 2007

Over 250 Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce membersand guests congregated in their finest attire Thursday to celebratea year of successes and pass the leadership on to the nextguard.

The 75th annual meeting, which took place at Copiah-LincolnCommunity College’s Thames Center, was dedicated to the late formerMayor Doug Sullivan, who passed away earlier this year. Sullivanwas given the Soap Box Award posthumously.

“This award is not given every year, just when we have someoneespecially deserving,” said Chamber President David Holland.

John Sullivan accepted the award, which recognizes a person’soutstanding efforts to promote and support the community, on behalfof his father.

“We’d like to accept this award with gratitude and great humility,because we know that’s how he would have accepted it,” saidSullivan, who went on to talk about his father’s love for thecommunity and its people.

Bank of Brookhaven President Bill Sones, who was coached bySullivan, said he was the kind of man who influenced people to wantto do things he knew they were capable of.

“Coach Sullivan asked me one day when I was in school, ‘What do yourun in track?'” said Sones while recalling that although he hadn’tparticipated in track before, that was the day he got involved. “Iwas also the only 135-pound discus thrower in the state, and hetalked me into that, too.”

Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop said that during his late father’sillness, many people had called and asked, “How’s your dad?” as aprecursor to asking his help on various projects.

“Doug would call and say, ‘How’s your dad?'” Bishop said. “Then hewould say, ‘You think it’s all right if I call him?'”

Bishop said that selflessness, to him, was what definedSullivan.

“A man’s actions still speak so much louder than his words,” Bishopsaid.

Also last night, Bishop and Mayor Bob Massengill touted a year ofaccomplishments and developments in the county and city. Chiefamong the achievements were further progress on the LinbrookBusiness Park and the expected lighting of Exit 40 on Interstate55.

In other activity during the annual meeting, the chamber recognizedColumbus Lumber Company as the Industry of the Year.

“This is quite an honor,” said Columbus Lumber President JeffGrierson while pointing out his staff. “I can’t thank these peopleenough for what they do for Columbus Lumber.”

Grierson said the award was more of an honor than he and his staffhad ever hoped for.

“Even to be mentioned at something like this, much less receivethis honor is more than we could ask for,” he said.

The Agri-Business of the Year was awarded to Sasser Farms.

The award was presented by Lincoln County Extension ServiceDirector Rebecca Bates and accepted by owners Kathy and LarrySasser. The Sassers have a timber and beef cattle operation in theBogue Chitto area.

The Educator of the Year Award went to Brookhaven High Schooleconomics instructor Krista Russell, who was applauded for hergreat effort, imagination and enthusiasm in the classroom.

Ambassador of the Year, given to the Chamber of Commerce ambassadorwhose dedication goes over and above the call of duty, went toveteran ambassador Catherine Dickey.

At the end of the evening, outgoing chamber president David Hollandpassed the charge of leading the chamber in 2008 to Rob McCreary.McCreary said the size of his job actually dawned on him as he wasmeeting with Executive Vice President Cliff Brumfield earlier inthe week.

“And I think that was when it probably hit me what I’ve gottenmyself into,” he joked. “But then, my job is actually easy. Look atall the talent in this room and that we’ve got here tonight.”