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New Prospect honored by state hospital for service

WHITFIELD — New Prospect Baptist Church of Brookhaven was given the Vivian Shivers Award at the Friends of Mississippi State Hospital, Inc., annual meeting recently.

Awards also were given to Daniel and Carter Elliott and to Sherrye Thompson and the Rankin County Frontiers Afterschool Program. A special recognition went to Phillip Cothern, a registered nurse at the hospital who serves as disc jockey at many hospital events.

New Prospect Baptist Church had several members in attendance at the meeting to accept the Vivian Shivers Award. Formerly known as the Helping Hands Award, it was established in 2006 to honor an individual or group who represents the volunteer spirit and sets the standard for future generations.

Photo submitted Pastor Willie Welch (left) and the New Prospect Baptist Church of Brookhaven received the Vivian Shivers Award from the Friends of MSH. Second from the left is Friends President Bridget Lowery and at far right is MSH Director James Chastain.

Photo submitted
Pastor Willie Welch (left) and the New Prospect Baptist Church of Brookhaven received the Vivian Shivers Award from the Friends of MSH. Second from the left is Friends President Bridget Lowery and at far right is MSH Director James Chastain.

Members of the church have been volunteering at MSH for more than 26 years, MSH Director James Chastain said. Their first Christmas party for the Chemical Dependency Unit in 1988 was spearheaded by their pastor, Randall Walker. The church, now pastored by Willie Welch, has been doing parties for Jaquith Nursing Home residents for many years.

“They faithfully travel here from Brookhaven each December,” Chastain said. “The distance alone sets them apart from the more than a 100 party groups who visit each year – 60-plus miles one way. Only a faithful few travel that distance year after year for our patients and residents. Their dedication, love and compassion is evident in their ministry and all the residents and staff look forward to their visit.”

Friends of Mississippi State Hospital is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to educating the public about mental illness and improving the lives of those individuals living with mental illnesses. For more information, contact MSH Public Relations at 601-351-8018.

MSH, a program of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, was founded in 1855 and helps the individuals it serves achieve mental wellness by encouraging hope, promoting safety, and supporting recovery. The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission.