Chamber holds awards banquet

Published 6:00 pm Friday, November 9, 2007

The 2007 Awards Banquet held at the Magnolia Columns Thursday night for the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce was a grand affair,.

A host of business, political and civic leaders gathered to pay tribute to their own by awarding them for their selfless acts and contributions to the community. The 100-plus members of the crowd first heard a motivational speech by the associate director of John C. Stennis Space Center, Patrick Sheuermann, who opened with a reminder to honor the nation’s Veterans.

Sheuermann spoke of his ties to the Picayune area, including his wife, Sarah Melissa Lee Sheuermann who is from Carriere, and his outlook for the future of the area due to the success of the space center.

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“St. Tammany Parish, Hancock and Pearl River County are in a sweet spot for economic growth,” Scheuermann said.

“Michoud and Stennis will play a large role together to get us back to the moon. We have broken ground on the new test stand. There are millions of dollars in government contracts. Like a snowball, it is coming and Pearl River County is in a fortunate spot. How many other places can boast not only one, but two NASA facilities in their back yard?”

Next, Linda Hanberry, as exiting president of the chamber said, “We have had a year of challenge, but we have an amazing staff. Our membership is over 300 and we have 10 corporate sponsors.”

Hanberry then introduced the Civic Club of the Year, the Friends of the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library. Randy Holland went to the podium to accept the award for his wife Kathleen Holland, who is president of the organization.

Friends of the Library has a membership of 300 and was established in 1964. Its purpose is to serve the library and to provide volunteers, programs and fundraisers to assist the library. The club contributed $6,500 towards new books, projection equipment, the Library’s Children’s and Young People’s Programs, the CD and DVD collections and additional tables for the Cultural room.

“I am very excited for the recognition for our club. We love to work with the library and we love Picayune,” said Kathy Holland.

Ted Musgrove, vice president of the chamber, next presented the Volunteer of the Year to Donna Seal.

“A woman with a heart of gold and a champion of helping others,” is how Musgrove described Seal. “Today she should be considered a real pioneer in women’s athletics.”

“I am so thankful for the nomination and grateful they made me sound so good. I am very surprised by this honor,” Seal said.

Finally, the Citizen of the Year Connie Maxine Tapley was introduced by Mayor Greg Mitchell.

“She is one of the most active members of the Civic Woman’s Club of Picayune. She contributes numerous hours to her work at First Baptist Church where she is a member,” he said.

“She is a rock solid leader and loving servant,” is how the Rev. Keith Warden described Seal.

New board members for the chamber whose terms end in 2010, Reagan Melancon Abney, Andrew Failla, Mark Formby, John McAulay and Suzan Wilson were recognized as the banquet came to a close.