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Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce holds awards banquet

The Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce held its 74th Annual Awards Banquet on Thursday evening at The Henry Smith House in front of an overflow crowd.

The Rotary Club of Picayune received the Civic Club of the Year. The local chapter is involved in and supports many community projects including scholarships to local students (over $9,000 awarded this past year), Christmas baskets (over 100 yearly), distribution of dictionaries to all local third graders (600 this past year), fishing rodeo for special needs students and adults, and are a mainstay of free warm beverages at local community events such as Christmas on the Rails and Trick or Treat Trail at Crosby Commons. Ms. Nickie Smith is the President of the Rotary Club of Picayune.

Susan Barker Spiers was named Citizen of the Year. Spiers, who is set to retire this school year after 40 years of service primarily working with gifted students, has been a beacon of hope and inspiration to so many students and athletes. Spiers has served her church in many roles including Youth Director, Sunday School teacher, women’s ministry, and as a lay minister stepping in to preach when the minister was out. She has received numerous recognitions for her work as an educator including the Leo Seal Teacher of the Year Award, the National Teacher of the Year Award, 2019 Teacher of the Year, the Pearl River County Rural Teacher of the Year, and the Mississippi Rural Teacher of the Year.

Spiers has worked tirelessly to receive grants for field trips and other educational opportunities for her students and others in the community. She has lead projects with students to show them what it means to give back to her community, and created the non-profit Forge Camp for underprivileged and at-risk boys that has provided learning and mentoring for so many at-risk young men and boys to give them insight on what it means to be a person of character and a good citizen.

Abbie Turnage was named Volunteer of the Year. Turnage is the leader and torch bearer for the Puttin’ on the Pink organization in Pearl River County that raised over $50,000 this past year to assist those diagnosed with breast cancer. By providing funding to assist with travel and related expenses while those patients are undergoing treatment for cancer, Turnage and Putting on the Pink have helped hundreds of people, men and women, in their fight to beat breast cancer.

The Excellence in Business Award was presented to Mossy / Nissan of Picayune. Mossy has demonstrated its commitment to both the community and its employees. Mossy has supported and donated to many community projects and fundraisers, including, but not limited to Youth Summer Camp, Ducks Unlimited, Youth Soccer League, Law Enforcement and First Responder Banquet, Youth Baseball Leagues, Buddy Ball, Toys for Tots, Puttin on the Pink, Putting for the Pink, Hilda Hoffman Memorial, and many more.

When Covid was devastating so many businesses and family households, Mossy stepped up to help their employees. There were no layoffs. The company allowed its employees to bring their children to work and hired sitters and teachers to take care of the children. They also hired a medical team to come to the workplace and perform Covid-19 testing to help provide a safe environment in which to work.

Mossy employees 110 full time employees offering them health care and 401K retirement plans. Over the years, Mossy has received many awards and plaques for their participation in Relay for Life. In 2019, they received a plaque from the local NAACP for their commitment to the citizens of Pearl River County.

Congratulations to all of the winners of this year’s Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce.


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