Chamber of Commerce honors citizen, volunteer, club of year

Published 1:50 am Sunday, November 16, 2008

Picayune’s Chamber of Commerce honored this year’s club, volunteer and citizen of the year for all their accomplishments.

Also during the yearly banquet, attendees were presented with information about the soon to be built hospital and the services it will provide.

The new hospital will be built on U.S. 11, and its construction will involve a new boulevard that will connect U.S. 11 with Mississippi 43 North close to Interstate 59. Once all three stages are completed it will be capable of holding and treating about 93 patients, said Ed Tucker.

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To compensate with the increase in traffic associated with the new hospital, a $5 million block grant will pay to expand U.S. 11 in front of the hospital’s new location. Funding to build the first phase of the hospital has been committed by the Bank of America and completion of the first phase is expected in 2011. All three phases are expected to cost about $76 million to construct and will take about five years.

There will be 95 in patient beds and 26 observation beds once all three phases are complete. The first phase will provide 53 in patient beds and 16 observation beds.

The first floor will have the food court, emergency room, observation rooms, and surgery. The second floor will have a pharmacy, pediatric care, obstetrics and surgery. Future expansion has been planned for and provided for with the shelled in third floor, Tucker said.

After Tucker’s presentation, the winners of this year’s awards were announced and presented with plaques.

This year’s Club of the Year went to the Junior Auxiliary Club for all the work its members put into helping the community. Programs provided needy children with school supplies, uniforms, underwear and shoes and senior citizens with things to entertain and occupy their time. The club also adopted a child with brain cancer, who outgoing Chamber of Commerce president Ted Musgrove reported is now doing well.

Junior Auxiliary is also responsible for providing children in local school districts with scholarships, scoliosis screening and a free health fair in the past year.

Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Habitat for Humanity member Hedy Cibula. Her many hats both with Habitat for Humanity and the Chamber of Commerce have helped a number of people in the community. She has helped prospective homeowners each receive $25,000 towards a down payment on a home, helped people find affordable solutions to home ownership and is certified teacher of an eight-hour homeowner education class.

To introduce the Citizen of the Year, Dewey Partridge, the Chamber brought out one of his old friends, Richard Price. Price spoke about his friend, whom he referred to as “Quail.” During his speech, he harked back to the years they spent in college on the Ole Miss football team.

“He was probably the most liked fellow on our football team,” Price said.

Even though everyone has flaws, Price said Partridge was a person who never asked for anything for himself.

“Despite all his rough exterior, his soul is soft,” Price said.

Partridge’s past accomplishments include working with young people as a teacher, coach and athletic director at a number of schools, including as a past head football coach at Picayune Memorial High School.

Partridge was presented with his honor by his friend and then took a second to address the crowd.

“You don’t know what this means to an ole boy,” Partridge said.

He told the audience that looking back at where he came from he never would have imagined he would be where he is now. He thanked everyone in the audience for the honor bestowed upon him.

A new Chamber president was announced along with new board members. Outgoing board members include Reba Beebe, Beth Lenoir, Reggie Hanberry, Stewart Huey and Woody Spiers. However, Stewart Huey will take over as the Chamber’s new president. Incoming board members include John Pigott, Lynn Dupont, Bill Edwards, Gerald Cruthird and Angelia Howell.