Representative Tommy Woods of Byhalia was honored with a gift of a lifetime membership to the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce at the recent quarterly luncheon.
Woods’ wife, Faye, was also applauded for her efforts in establishing a Byhalia Arts Council.
The veteran state representative for District 52 also announced he is stepping down due to health concerns. He said he will retire from the legislature sometime this year, probably by July 30.
If Woods completed this (his seventh) term, the next election for his seat would be 2015.
A special election will likely be held later this year to fill the House position.
Woods has long been praised for civic involvement, promoting his district and Marshall County, his work on economic and community development in his community, his famous barbecue and his singing.
He is a charter member of the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce since its inception in 1988.
Woods has been involved in not just the Chamber but the Mississippi House of Representatives for the past 25 years.
“He has been instrumental in economic and community development locally and in our great state of Mississippi,” said Sarah Sawyer, executive director of the chamber. “He is involved in our newly formed Byhalia Area Arts Council under the direction of his lovely wife, Faye.
“Along with the numerous civic organizations and charities, Rep. Woods has been involved in front and behind the scenes…from hosting luncheons, to cooking barbecue and loaning his smoker for fund-raisers.
“Mr. Tommy’s beautiful gift of voice has been shared by singing at many community events and across the country at revivals, weddings and funerals.
“Based on the facts too numerous to name, the board of directors extends an honorary membership to Rep. Tommy and Faye Woods. This honor ensures they shall have all the privileges of membership for life.”
Attendance was very large at the luncheon, hosted by Trinity Missions Health and Rehab of Great Oaks, with growth in the chamber drawing from DeSoto County and Memphis businesses.
Sawyer praised sustaining members, who pay one and a half regular membership dues to curtail the need for constant fundraising. She said these sponsors “are the backbone of our membership.”
Conrad Stacks, with the Army Corps of Engineers and guest speaker, highlighted the responsibilities of the Corps – flood management, navigation, and environmental protections. His district serves 25,000 square miles in six states – Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois.
A major responsibility is the protection of the Mississippi River levies, which, in his district, consist of 600 miles of main levy and 600 miles of side levies. Two hundred and fifty tons of freight pass through his district’s waterways, he said.
Stacks’ topic centered on earthquake preparedness. The Corps works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to kick into action during disasters of all types.
He said there is a 90 percent chance the Memphis, Tenn., area will experience a 7.0 magnitude earthquake or greater since it sits on the New Madrid fault. Memphis is gound zero in such a scenario, he said. Areas outside the 240 loop will be asked to step up and help those leaving the area in the wake of such a disaster.
Local facilities and services will be taxed as they cope with the outflow of survivors from Memphis after the quake, Stacks said.
The buildings in the older districts of Memphis are not constructed to survive a 7.0 earthquake. Gas leaks, water leaks, and fires follow in an earthquake’s path.
The National Corps of Engineers would be called in to respond to a disaster in the Memphis area from an earthquake, he said. But local responders and citizenry can expect to have to hold on for the first seven days or more following a quake. Every household should have a family meeting to decide where they will regroup after a disaster and on a plan of action. Survival kits are also important and should contain water, food, first aid, cooking supplies and personal and sanitation supplies to last from seven to 10 days.
The calendar of events for Byhalia includes the following:
• June 8 - Marshall County Relay For Life, Sam Coopwood Park
• June 14 - 16 - Byhalia Festival, bands, carnival, rodeo
• June 19 - reception for elected/appointed officials and champion sponsors, 5-7 p.m.
• August 25 - sounds of Summer Music and Arts Festival, 5-10 p.m.
• September 7 - Strawberry Plains Hummingbird Migration Celebration
• September 12-13 - White Oak Classic golf tourney
• September 29 - charity poker run for motorcycles and antique cars
Call the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce at 662-838-8127 for additional information.
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