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Chamber of Commerce holds annual awards banquet

The Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual banquet at The Grand Banquet Hall to recognize awards winner for Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Civic Club of the Year, and Business Excellence of the Year.

Picayune Mayor Dr. Ed Pinero opened the event addressing those in attendance by challenging them to "shop and buy local, both now, during the upcoming holiday shopping season, and beyond."

Pinero expressed the value and importance of being active in the Chamber of Commerce and helping each other. From the audience, he recognized newly named PRCC head football coach Ted Egger and dignitaries from local governments including Donald Hart and Hudson Holliday from the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors and Picayune City Council members Jan Miller Stevens and Wayne Gouguet. Pinero also reminded the audience of the importance of the sacrifices and took a moment to recognize veterans that were present.

Mayor Pinero presented the Citizen of the Year award to Dr. D.L. Bolton. Pinero pointed out Bolton's "legacy of having a thriving practice for over 40 years and his dedication since 2006 to the Manna Medical Clinic and its mission to provide medical services to those in the community without medical insurance. Dr. Bolton stands as a beacon to the community."

Mayor Dr. Ed Pinero and Dr. D.L. Bolton

Bill Cruse made the presentation to the Picayune Lions Club as the Civic Club of the Year. Cruse pointed out the longevity of the Lions Club and its contribution to improving the vision of people in the community with free eye exams and by providing eyeglasses, supporting youth programs, and lending a helping hand to the disabled.

Tina Stockstill introduced the Volunteer of the Year, Theresa Milar, citing Milar's involvement with Kiwanis and Rotary in helping with their annual fishing rodeos for youth, Special Olympics, Buddy Ball, teaching safety classes at Brandi's Hope and Bridgeway Apartments, and the Civic Woman's Club Christmas Parade. Stockstill also listed Milar's work with Toys for Tots, Picayune's National Night Out Against Crime, and Kid's Police Camps held by the Picayune Police Department.

Tina Stockstill and Theresa Milar

Paul's Pastry Shop was the recipient of the Excellence in Business award. Clyde Dease gave a brief history of the business through its first forty-seven years stressing that "Paul's Pastry is an example of a company with a vision for the future from the time it was started."

Dease told the audience of how the business, with leadership of Sherri Thigpen, has been a success story by "doing business with other businesses in the Picayune area" and "delivering outstanding customer service to every customer, every day."

Dease talked about the innovative ideas developed by Sherri Thigpen like starting tours for school age children to educate them on the baking industry and eventually turning them into customers for generation after generation. He noted how Sherri has now began transition of the reins of the business to her daughter Laci Brunson and her husband Clay. In closing, Dease stated how Paul's Pastry "had a vision and continues to execute that vision for the future."

Laci Brunson, Sherri Thigpen, and Clyde Dease

Chamber Executive Director Terry Farr, who took over the reins of the organization in August, told the members about the importance of members to attend functions, take an initiative to clean up around the area by picking up trash, and sprucing up the appearance of Picayune.

Farr added, "We are going to double the size of the membership in 2018. We're going to do it by making Picayune and Pearl River County the place people want to start a business."

Farr challenged the membership to "look in the mirror and ask yourself if you have hired an employee of excellence this year? I challenge each of you to do so in 2018." Farr donned a cap that stated "Make Picayune Great Again" and stated "Picayune is already great. Let's make it greater."

Chamber Executive Director Terry Farr


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