Annual Awards Banquet: Chamber recognizes teamwork
Last week’s winter weather not only put the skids on school at Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s campus, but on Wesson’s Chamber of Commerce banquet that was to be held on there as well.
Rescheduled, with freshly inked programs reflecting the change, the event went off last night without a hitch, with more than 100 in attendance at the Thames Conference Center.
The awards program is put on annually by the town’s chamber members, and according to President Marilyn Britt, provides an opportunity to recognize the efforts of individuals and groups who are making a difference in the community.
“There’s a lot of partnership going on between the chamber, the city and local organizations like the Friends of the Library, the American Legion, the Garden Club and the Lions Club. I’ve come to see that it’s teamwork like this that really gets things done in Wesson,” she said.
Headlining the evening’s activities was a special appearance by acclaimed cartoonist and author Marshall Ramsey, whose work has appeared in USA Today, Newsweek, The New York Times, and more than 450 other news outlets. The audience was treated to a projection of Ramsey’s slides, including caricatures of Mississippi’s governors and an image drawn just minutes after the tragedies of 9/11 were televised.
Among those receiving awards at the banquet were:
• Newman Construction – Business of the Year
• Bob McCreary – Ageless Hero
• Charles Dale Hart – Citizen of the Year
• Curtis Lee Howington, Jr. – Public Servant of the Year
• Wesson Athletic Foundation – Leadership Award
• Wesson Garden Club – Organization of the Year
• Educator of the Year (Wesson Attendance Center) – Heather McKenzie
• Educator of the Year (Copiah-Lincoln Community College) – Cynthia Higgs.
• Terry Munn was on hand to present Wesson Athletic Foundation President Hillry Britt with its Leadership Award. Munn reported the group he once led now manages baseball and softball opportunities for more than 400 participants each year.
• Hometown-boy-turned-cop Curtis Lee Howington Jr. took home a plaque as “Public Servant of the Year.” Employed by Wesson’s department for four years, the 29-year-old says one of his favorite parts of his job is keeping the traffic under control near the Wesson Attendance Center. “I like being part of this community, and I like keeping it safe,” he said of his award.
• The Chamber also noted the contributions of Parker’s Body Shop, which has had a business presence in the community spanning more than four decades.
• Alexia Paige Britt was presented as the new Founder’s Day Queen.
In addition, Heather McKenzie, Chris McSweyn, and Pete Skinner, all outgoing Chamber of Commerce board members, were thanked for their service.
Taking the helm as board president for another term, Marilyn Britt stated that one of the Chamber’s main projects for 2014 will be coordinating a celebration of Wesson’s upcoming birthday, when the town turns 150 years old. Mayor Alton Shaw also mentioned the milestone in his remarks.
“We held an initial planning meeting last month with over 40 in attendance,” Britt reported. “We are making big plans for April 26.”