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Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce holds 71st Annual Awards Banquet

The GreaterPicayune Area Chamber of Commerce held it 71st Annual Awards Banquet on Thursday night at The Grand in Picayune. The annual event recognizes those who have made the most impact in the previous year in the community.

The Friends of Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library were recipients of the Civic Club of the Year for their work in raising awareness, hosting a variety of free cultural events as well as programs for children and they were instrumental in raising funds for upgrading the sound systems and circulation desk.

Dr. Adrienne Pendley with Kathleen Holland of Friends of Library

The Volunteer of the Year was presented to Debra Sharff. Ms. Sharff is a member of the Rotary Club of Picayune where she serves as secretary, the chamber, and the PRC Homebuilders Association.

Debra Sharff and incoming Chamber President Greg Mitchell

The Citizen of the Year was Jameye Martin. Ms. Martin is a huge supporter of Maroon Tide sports and has used her experience as a nurse in working as the Director of Manna Ministries for the past 20 years. Manna Ministries provides free health care to those in need in the community.

Jameye Martin and Mayor Ed Pinero

The Excellence in Business Award was presented to Melinda’s Fine Gifts and its owner Melinda Vitale Shaw. The nomination for the recipient said that in her 22 years in business, Melinda’s has become “the perfect shop to find the perfect gift for all occasions.”

She has been recognized as one of the top 25 gift retailers of the year on two separate occasions. Shaw told the attendees that “being a small business, you face so many obstacles many of which people don’t even realize.

“What’s made it work is the Lord above and I have to give Him the credit.”

Melinda Shaw addressing the attendees

Ms. Shaw said that she prayed about it and in 1997, the Lord instilled it in her heart to open a gift shop and she did.

“I had many people say, a gift shop, now how’s that going to make any money? Well, it doesn’t really,” Shaw said with a soft laugh and smile.

“It gives me peace each day because customer’s come in and you help them find something and they leave smiling. They’re happy. That’s what it’s all about.”


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