Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wilson selected Leader of Year

Staff Writer

The Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce handed out its two top annual awards last week at its 2005 Chamber Celebration.

Rev. Don Wilson, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Byhalia, was given the coveted Leader of the Year Award. Bill Kinkade took the Member of the Year Award.

Wilson was cited for his 40 years of ministry not only to his church membership but to the entire community.

“He has been called everybody’s minister,” said Sarah Sawyer, executive director of the Chamber.

Wilson took on the ministry of four churches when he moved to Byhalia after graduating from seminary in 1965.

A single man when he arrived, Wilson married Mary Ann Stanback, a teacher and librarian who had moved back to Byhalia. They were both forty.

The son of a Delta farming family in Leland, Wilson contracted tuberculosis and spent over a year in the state tuberculosis hospital where he recovered, attended Delta State University and later graduated from the Columbia Theological Seminary.

His service to the entire community gained him the honor of being called everybodys minister and a minister’s minister.

“He not only watches his flock, but tries to help others,” said Jean Burrow in an interview for a March 11, 2004, profile on Wilson published in The South Reporter. “He’s not just the Presbyterian Minister, he’s everybodys minister.”

Rev. Mr. Milton Winter, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Holly Springs, called Wilson a minister’s minister, “because he’s given his whole life to this one call.”

The Presbyterian Church in Byhalia was established in 1852 just inside DeSoto County and moved in 1875 to its present location. The church bell was cast in England in 1700, shipped to South Carolina and later moved by ox cart to Mississippi by a Nesbit family.

Wilson was presented the award by Terry Rodgers, the 2004 award winner. Byhalia Mayor Scooter Dempsey received leader award in 2003 and Dudley Moore in 2002, the year the Chamber began recognizing the Leader of the Year.

Kinkade, current Chamber first vice-president, accepted the Member of the Year award from last year’s winner and past Chamber president Janice Wagg.

Kinkade received the award for his service to the Chamber on the board of directors, and participation in numerous Chamber projects such as the renovation of the Chamber building and help with the White Oak Classic, golf tournament, Christmas tree lighting, building blitz, and Byhalia By Choice action group.

Kinkade was praised for his recent help in the transformation of the old Byhalia High School gym into an emergency shelter for Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

The person who nominated Kinkade for Member of the Year, called Kinkade “a friend to the Byhalia community.”

He was also recognized for service as baseball coach.

“When serving as coach for local baseball teams, he teaches youngsters not only the rules of the game, but the rules of life involving responsibility, citizenship, commitment, teamwork, sportsmanship, how to win and even more, how to lose,” said the one who nominated him.

Kinkade moved to Byhalia about 12 years ago. He and his wife Debbie are owners of Champion Awards.

He also is a member of the Marshall County Zoning Board.

The Byhalia Chamber participated in 26 projects in 2005:

• set aside a social time - Picture This - once a month to introduce the community to historic downtown Byhalia. Picture this meets every first Thursday at the Chamber.

• held a joint awards luncheon for business, industry and schools with the Holly Springs Chamber.

• organized the Byhalia By Choice Action Group. Walt Grayson has been invited to speak at the 2006 awards luncheon.

• graduated a class of 26 in the first Marshall County LeadershipPlenty course. A second class is now being called for year 2006.

• helped plan the 2005 Marshall-Benton County Area Job Fair.

• formed Biscuits, Business and Bucks, a quarterly networking opportunity for chamber members.

• held the 4th Annual Staff Appreciation Luncheon and a fashion show. The Staff Member of the Year Award was presented to Waurene Going.

• organized the 14th Annual White Oak Classic Walking and Racking Horse Show.

• put on the 9th Annual Chamber Golf Tourney at Kirkwood National Golf Course.

• hosted a School Appreciation Reception honoring school boards and administrators.

• held Holiday Open House. Proceeds went to the Byhalia Fire Department and 100 Teddy Bears were collected for LeBonhuer Children’s Hospital.

• organized the 2004 Chamber Celebration.

• collected donations for Habitat for Humanity and served as resource and information center for the Byhalia Red Cross Shelter.

• assisted with 12 ribbon cuttings and grand openings.

• participated in the Marshall County Strategic Planning Committee and TVA’s Community Preparedness Workshop.

• revitalized chamber office as a welcome, information and resource center.

• added new projects including 18 ornamental street signs, an entryway welcome sign, worked to developed a chamber website, and sold advertising for the coupon books, weekly ad page, advertising books, numerous publications including the town and country maps and Byhalia Pottery.

The Awards Celebration was held at Trevecca Manor located at 516 South Red Banks Road, Red Banks, Miss.

Trevecca Manor is owned by Patsy Floyd.

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