Chamber holds annual Awards Banquet

Published 1:18 am Sunday, November 22, 2009

Three people and a local civic club were honored at the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce’s Awards Banquet, held at the newly opened Link.

The event was heavily attended with most attendees dressing in their best formal attire. Thursday evening’s event marks the first time it was held in the new atmosphere of the First Baptist Church of Picayune’s Link, a multipurpose hall able to accommodate more people than the event has seen before.

During the event four awards were handed out.

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The first award issued was also a first for the Chamber of Commerce, the Pride of Picayune award. Former Picayune High School Band director Johnny Baker is the first to receive the award, which aims to honor a person who goes above and beyond the call of duty to make the city and surrounding county a better place to live. Baker now directs the county’s Community Band.

The Chamber also honored this year’s Volunteer of the Year, Kay Miller. Miller volunteers with the local SPCA, personally funded a local feral spay and neuter effort for a number of years, teaches Sunday school and works with the youth of her church on Wednesday nights, just to name a few things she does.

This year’s Civic Club of the Year award was presented to the Civic Woman’s Club. The club sponsors the annual Christmas Parade, which always draws a crowd along city streets. The club also donates Christmas baskets to the local fire and police departments along with hospital staff, purchased a number of barricades for use by the police department and donated food and labor to the Habitat for Humanity’s Blitz Build held last month, among other projects.

Last but not least was the Citizen of the Year, Max Huey. He is a veteran, former president of the Picayune Rotary Club, past advisory board member for the city’s hospital, former member of the Pearl River Community College board of trustees and also helped get the ball rolling again on construction of the city’s new hospital when it appeared as though construction had stalled.

Before the awards were handed out, Mississippi Treasurer Tate Reeves spoke on the importance of being true to yourself and being passionate about it and also being honest in every situation. During his speech, he said he was once told that a truly successful politician has a life outside of politics.

“If you’re only concerned with the next election it’s impossible to stand up and do the right thing and make the right decisions,” Reeves said.

Instead of worrying about whether a politician is on the left or right side of an issue, politicians should be more worried about making the right decisions, Reeves said.

Reeves also spoke of the turbulent economy that the state and the nation face. He said that while people still have jobs, a number of those still employed have had their hours and pay cut, making for a work force that is actually underemployed. That situation leads to an economy of people with less expendable income, which leads to a state collecting less in tax revenue. Still, he said even when times seem to be tough, they may not be as bad as they seem, especially since the economy is circular and ever changing.

“When (times) seem really good, rarely are they as good as they seem. When they seem really bad, like times like now, rarely are they as bad as they seem,” Reeves said.

Reeves still remains optimistic about the future of the state of Mississippi.