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Hyde-Smith chosen as 2011 VIP

As 2011 comes to a close, the red carpetwill be rolled out once again at the Lincoln Civic Center inDecember for the “O” Foundation’s Annual Ole Brook VIP AwardsBanquet.

    For this year’s banquet, in its sixth year, the foundation hasnamed incoming state agriculture commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith tobe the honoree.

    “We chose Cindy because she is the first person from our area tohold a statewide position,” said event organizer Rose “Polly”Powell. “And she’s right here in Brookhaven as our VIP thisyear.”

    Powell explained Hyde-Smith embodied the characteristics of an “O”Foundation VIP through actions of working to better the community,doing volunteer work and being recognizable and accessible to allraces of people in Brookhaven.

    “That’s what the ‘O’ is for,” Powell said. “It stands for ‘One,’which we got from Ephesians 4.”

    The Bible verses she alluded to read: “There is one body, and oneSpirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; oneLord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who isabove all and through all, and in you all.”

    Hyde-Smith said it is an honor to be chosen as the VIP for2011.

    “I was just so honored that they would choose me for theirrecipient this year,” she said.

    She said the recognition makes her feel even closer to thecommunity she has served throughout her adult life.

    “I feel a closeness to the citizens in Lincoln County,” she said.”I’ve really always loved that Brookhaven is such a tight-knitcommunity. This is just one of the reasons I enjoy living here somuch. We all know each other, and we all help each other. It makesme feel even more embraced by the warmth of the community.”

    Hyde-Smith joins the company of five previous VIPs: Police ChiefPap Henderson (2006), former mayor Bob Massengill (2007),Brookhaven Outreach Ministries director Brother Jerry Durr (2008),The DAILY LEADER publishers Charles and Bill Jacobs (2009) and partowner of Williams Mortuary Patricia McGill-Tillman (2010).

    “I just feel acceptance to think that I am among such distinguishedleaders that are actually in my community,” Hyde-Smith said ofbecoming a part of the elite group. “That forms a bond and itaccentuates that bond.”

    Powell explained the event is a fundraiser for the foundation,which is involved in various mentoring programs in the community.She said last year’s event pulled in $4,200, enabling donations tothe Mississippi Scholars Program and two individual scholarships tostudents in Brookhaven, among other donations.

    “This year, we’re really pushing the boys’ mentoring program,”Powell said.

    She referred specifically to the Lincoln County Robert V.Massengill – Arlustra “Pap” Henderson Mentoring Program, formed in2010 to target young males in the community to give them Christianmen mentors.

    Tickets for the black-tie affair are $30, and $50 to get a seat ata table with a previous VIP. Tickets are $25 for seniors age 65 andolder. The event is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. atthe Civic Center.

    “The red carpet will be rolled out, and we’ll have MississippiSchool of the Arts students, who volunteer their efforts, escortingpeople inside, waiting on tables and helping to cleanup,” Powellsaid. “We’ll also have a picture slideshow of Hyde-Smith withdifferent pictures of her from throughout her life.”

    Powell explained the VIP chooses a guest speaker. This year’sspeaker will be departing commissioner of agriculture LesterSpell.

    People interested in more information on the event and purchasingtickets can call Powell at 601-833-0922.