Thursday, December 5, 2013
Byhalia Chamber celebrates 25 years
By SUE WATSON
The membership of the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce recently celebrated 25 years of growth and change at the Whispering Woods Conference Center in Olive Branch.
The founding members and officers were honored at the celebration and a short video to promote Byhalia was shown. Scrapbooks with pictures of the past were on the counter for everyone to thumb through. And a slide presentation of old photos, prepared by Montie Hamblen, was also shown.
Mayor Phil Malone discussed the past, present and future of the Town of Byhalia and the Byhalia Area Chamber.
“The 25th, and who would have thought it?” he asked. “Wayne Hollowell called the first meeting. What an Ebenezer for Byhalia.”
Samuel took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshana. He named it Ebenezer – the stone of help – for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12, The Holy Bible).
The town was founded 155 years ago, named after Bihalee Creek – also known as the Indian word for white oak.
Reading from a 1950 newspaper article, Malone said most of what was written about then is relative to what takes place today:
• Byhalia was said to be 23 miles from the Memphis city limits.
• Highway 78 was newly paved. The video will show Highway 78 to be the future I-22, and I-269 is also shown being built.
• Church life was active then as now.
• The Byhalia Garden Club was active in beautification.
• Civic groups were on the ground.
“We’re dealing with the same things many, many years later, but they are new to us and will go on to be new to someone else,” the mayor said.
For now and the future, the town has a 20-year plan, a website, goals set, and a new video promoting the community life. The video was funded through a grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi.
Malone thanked Peggy Linton with the foundation and Calvin Dean, who shot the video for the town and chamber.
“She (Peggy) came to the Town of Byhalia, wrapped her arms around me, made our mayor and board look good,” Malone said.
With people like those in Byhalia, the future is bright, he said.
The BACC board of directors in 1988 included – Anne Walker, president; Pat Woods, secretary; Charles Crain; Curtis Gurley; Joe Tunstall, vice-president; Bill Dawson, treasurer; Ethel Mitchell; and Jerry Nichols.
All 25-year members were asked to stand and be recognized.
Sarah Sawyer, executive director of BACC for 15 years, also recognized the present board and staff. Chamber Champions for 2013 were honored.
Star Sponsors of the celebration included – A&B Distributing, ABRA Auto Body & Glass, the Byhalia Garden Club, Cannon Bros. Air Conditioning and Heating, Charles and Joy Crain, Citizens Bank, Griffith CPA Firm, Jimmy and Ginga Woods, Merchants and Farmers Bank, Murphy’s Custom Brick, MS Tobacco-Free Coalition, Roxul, Strawberry Plains Audubon Center and Woods Farm Supply.
The celebration committee included – Charles Crain, Texie Prather, Angie Cannon, Phil Malone, Terry Grifffith, Dorothy Young, Linda Turner, Janice Wagg, Bill Kinkade and Stephanie Stone.
Entertainment for the evening was provided by actor and comedic writer David Dallas and musical talent was provided by Evan Farris.
Upcoming events on the 2014 calendar include:
• Jan. 30 - 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Chamber Annual Awards Luncheon
• March 6 - Marshall Benton County Job Fair - Rust College
• March 7 - Byhalia Beautiful Mardi Gras party
• April 11 - Byhalia Lions Club Golf Tournament
• April 11-13 - Holly Springs Pilgrimage
• April 15 - Byhalia Garden Club plant auction
• April 24 - Chamber Membership Luncheon
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