Jacobs family honored at foundation banquet

Published 6:00 am Friday, December 11, 2009

Even with the advent of the Internet, citizens in most smalltowns across America keep up with current events at home throughthe efforts of their community newspaper. And through the years,Brookhaven has been no different.

The ‘O’ Foundation acknowledged that fact Thursday night whenthe community organization honored DAILY LEADER Publisher BillJacobs and his father, Publisher Emeritus Charles O. “Chuck” Jacobsas the 2009 Ole Brook VIPs.

Friends, family and local dignitaries gathered at the LincolnCenter to celebrate the life of not only the Jacobs family inBrookhaven, but also their newspaper. Guests spoke of the fact thatThe DAILY LEADER, with the Jacobses at the helm, reminds people ofthe identity of their hometown.

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“For the past 51 years, the LEADER has continued their effortsto remind the community who they are,” said Mayor Les Bumgarner.”They have devoted themselves to excellence in journalism. TheLEADER has been a constant voice that has provided accountabilityand fairness of reporting.”

DAILY LEADER Managing Editor Matt Coleman spoke also of thefamily’s devotion to helping build and further positive communitygrowth, saying that Bill Jacobs has always been a champion ofsupporting both public and private education.

“I believe one of Bill’s proudest professional moments was thecreation and opening of the Mississippi School of the Arts,”Coleman said. “The school brought a part of historic Brookhavenback to life and is now opening doors for artistically giftedstudents in the state.”

Keynote speaker Mississippi Economic Council President BlakeWilson praised the family for making such a difference in thecommunity, and, he said, it has been more than simply by providinga positive publication.

“It is the will to make a difference and to champion causes thatwill further the community,” he said. “And at the same time toraise the standard of opportunity and talk about how things can bebetter.”

Wilson talked about how the newspaper’s support of thecommunity, spearheaded by the leadership of the Jacobs family, issomething Brookhaven and Lincoln County are lucky to have.

“We have to support it like anything else in the community,” hesaid. “It’s part of the fabric of what makes Brookhaven and LincolnCounty different.”

Bill Jacobs took the stage to thank the group for the award andtold a story of how his father had arrived in Brookhaven 51 yearsago and been suddenly beset by a nasty flu bug.

Since the first edition of the paper had to go out on a Tuesday,and in spite of being terribly ill, he was at work that Monday tointroduce himself to his new employees.

The younger Jacobs told the gathering that his father had onceagain experienced health problems and was undergoing rehabilitationat Silver Cross Home, but that he was still as determined andmentally strong as ever.

“Much like that first day in 1958, he was determined to behere,” Bill Jacobs said, gesturing toward his father. “I’m gladyou’re here, Dad.”

Jacobs also quoted Chuck Jacobs’ first editorial at the helm ofthe newspaper all those years ago, where he wrote, “Hopefully youwill come to like us as we like you.”

On that note, he thanked the crowd for coming out to the banquetin their honor.

“We appreciate your all coming out on a cold Thursday night toshow that you do like us,” he said. “Thank you all. The Lord hasblessed us in so many ways.”

The Ole Brook VIP Banquet, in its fourth year, has previouslyhonored the Rev. Jerry Durr of the Brookhaven Outreach Ministries,former Brookhaven Mayor Bob Massengill, and Brookhaven Police ChiefPap Henderson.