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Chamber of Commerce presents awards to volunteer, club, business, citizen

Women were honored in every individual category at the 71st annual Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet Thursday night.

Civic Club of the Year was awarded to the Friends of the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library for enhancing the community and financially supporting projects at the library. Those projects included updating the library’s sound system and funding an ADA compliant desk at the library, said Dr. Adrienne Penley, who presented the award to Friends of the Library Pro Grand Chairman Kathleen Holland. 

This year’s Volunteer of the Year is Deborah Scharff. She volunteers countless hours with the Rotary Club of Picayune, the Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Homebuilder’s association, said incoming Chamber Board President Greg Mitchell, Jr. Scharff serves as secretary in Rotary Club of Picayune and can always be counted on, Mitchell said.

Jameye Martin was chosen as Citizen of the Year. Mayor Ed Pinero presented the award.

Martin has dedicated her life to helping others as a nurse and through her work at Manna Ministries. Pinero said he’s known Martin his whole life and described her as a “great Christian lady.”

The Excellence in Business Award was presented to Melinda’s Fine Gifts, owned by Melinda Shaw. She opened the store as a single mom in 1997 to provide for her sons, said Picayune Main Street Director Reba Beebe, who presented Shaw with the award.

The business collects donations for animal shelters twice a year, Beebe said. Shaw said that it is hard to make a small business work.

“What’s made it work is the Lord above, and I have to give him the credit,” she said after receiving the award.

After awards were presented, outgoing Chamber president Misty Toruno updated attendees on the Chamber’s accomplishments this year.

The chamber adopted new by-laws, hosted the first student leadership summit, and awarded four $1,250 scholarships to students at Picayune Memorial High School and Pearl River Central High School.

The Chamber currently has 329 voting members and 48 corporate sponsors.

Two years ago, the Chamber only had 8 corporate sponsors. They hope to have 50 by the end of the year.