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Retired educator honored for his ‘Golden Deeds’

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Retired school teacher and community volunteer Wayne McGee speaks from the podium after receiving the Exchange Club's highest honor, the "Book of Golden Deeds" award, Friday night.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Retired school teacher and community volunteer Wayne McGee speaks from the podium after receiving the Exchange Club’s highest honor, the “Book of Golden Deeds” award, Friday night.

“This year’s winner has always had a special interest as a volunteer in the community,” said the Exchange Club’s Rickey Lagrone in presenting the 2013 Book of Golden Deeds award to Wayne McGee Friday night.

Praising McGee for his “selfless deeds and service,” Lagrone conveyed the club’s highest award to the long-time educator and community servant at the 67th annual Golden Deeds Banquet held in the Thames Center at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

A retired school teacher after 40 years of educational stewardship, McGee’s exceptional volunteerism and ongoing work as a community leader has never wavered, according to fellow Exchange Club members.

“Every year this award honors exceptional Christian service to the community. Serving and benefiting communities is one of our key staples, and Wayne exemplifies all of this,” Lagore said.

Throughout the years, McGee has shown a particular graciousness to elderly members of the community. As a hospice volunteer and hospital chaplain, McGee provides spiritual healing on a daily basis, said Lagore.

As part of his acceptance speech, McGee recited a passage from the Gospel of Matthew.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. I say to you, as you do it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

McGee, a church member at Clear Branch Baptist Church, said this particular passage has motivated much of his charitable giving and volunteer spirit.

“These are words I think about all the time. I believe they are true. I want to do everything I can, my part, to abide by them,” McGee said.

Among the other honors bestowed to club members at the banquet included Attendance and Service awards presented by club member Mike Walley.

Frank Burns, who has been with the club for 65 years, is the longest serving Brookhaven Exchange Club member.

Herbert Moore and Wesley Kent each were honored for 45 years of service with the exchange club, respectively.

Danny Knight also received the honor of longtime service to the community with 35 years of dutiful service.

Dewayne Townsend and Bob Morris were honored for 20 years of service.

Jeremy Brown, club member and son of the president of the board of supervisors, Eddie Brown, received a top attendance award for a flawless 100 percent attendance record with the club.

Ironically, Burns, who was unable to make it to Friday’s banquet, was also honored for a 98 percent attendance record.

Stan Long presented the “John L. Leary” award to Bob Morris for “dedication, devotion and hard work.”

Operating since 1947, the Brookhaven Exchange Club has been instrumental in performing charitable work for the Brookhaven community.

In one way or another, club members have been part and parcel for events such as the Christmas parade, the Ole Brook and Exchange Club festivals, the construction and funding of playgrounds in the area, most notably Exchange Club park, school events and freedom shrines that honor local veterans.

According to many of the city and county officials that attended the banquet, the ceremony was a good-natured and joyous affair. Bill Hickman was the main presenter and part-time comedian for the night, using the recent frigid weather as a playful way to rib his fellow club members.

The Rev. Malcolm Massey delivered Friday night’s invocation, and Pete Szcsublewski delivered the Pledge of Allegiance.