(Left) Doris Moore, 95; (Right) Willie H. Wells, 91
Photos by Sue Watson
Rev. Andrew Cheairs (right) greets Brandon Presley, public service commissioner.
Sheriff Kenny Dickerson thanks Marshall Countians for their support of law enforcement.
Catherine Payne, 100.
John Powell, pastor of Jones Grove, Holly Springs, starts the devotion with “Jesus on the Main Line.” And reading from 1 John 4: 7-8, he said , “Thank you, Lord. You didn’t have to bless us, but you did.”
Enjoying the activites are Naomi Malone, 78, Lessie McAuley, 80, Little “D” Lewis and Pat Raimey.
Saluting senior citizens
Michael Gordon, of Smith Grove Church in Holly Springs, opened the fourth Senior Citizens Day at St. Paul MB Church in Byhalia by recognizing the hundreds of seniors in attendance.
“Somebody is going to be blessed today,” he said, “because when praises go up, blessings come down.”
Gordon also introduced the master of ceremonies, Gregory Hughes.
Roberts Wilson welcomed Brandon Presley, public service commissioner for the Northern District, saying “whether you know it or not, this man has touched your life through either your water, electricity, utilities, or phone.”
Presley is the youngest person ever selected to the commission at age 30 and one of the youngest mayors in Mississippi, elected at age 23 in Nettleton.
Presley prefaced his remarks by recognizing elected officials, then said, “The problem in our communities and state will not be solved in the school house, the state house or the White House, but in the church house.”
He gave thanks for the service of the first black senator in the U.S. Congress, Hiram Revels and said, “We thank God for where we are but we are not where we need to be yet. We’ve done a poor job in Mississippi over the years; that’s a fact.”
Presley empathized with the public over the cold winter that caused heating bills to skyrocket in January 2018. But he said citizens can lower their heating bills through conservation and monitoring the thermostat or energy use inside the home.
“The more money you get in your pocket, the more you have for your family,” he said.
Natural gas is two-thirds cheaper than electricity to heat a home. Presley said he is working to get natural gas service expanded.
He assured the audience that a person answers every call to his office and then gave a blessing.
“God bless the years you lived to be an example to your children and a testament to what a good life can be, what a clean life can be,” Presley said. “I do not know another county that has done this for their senior citizens.”
Next, sheriff Kenny Dickerson was honored with a resolution by Holly Springs Mayor Kelvin Buck.
“Thank you for this honor and proclamation,” the sheriff said. “If it is your will, I look forward to serving you for many more years.
“I also want to thank all people who helped make another well-deserved Senior Citizens Day possible.”
Dickerson said he, too, is a senior citizen – “thanks to God our Savior.”
“Without his guidance, many of us in law enforcement would not have made it,” he said. “God is always there. Without His help in administering the office of sheriff, it would be extremely difficult.
“My parents instilled in my brothers and me to treat others the way we would like to be treated and show kindness and respect at all times to our fellow man.”
Dickerson nearly lost his life in a March 2014 vehicle accident, after which he was airlifted to Regional One Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn.
“But with God’s help and medical help, I am back almost as strong as I was,” he said.
He thanked the hundreds of friends of all races who came to his assistance following the accident and during his three-month recovery period, the last of which was spent in Rehab at Alliance Hospital in Holly Springs.
“I have recovered almost completely due to your many prayers and God’s help, along with very competent medical care,” Dickerson said.
He said law enforcement officers are often required to make life and death decisions in a split second. But courts may argue for months about these decisions.
He said the least important word in the world is “I” and the most important word is “we.”
Dickerson said illegal drugs are so powerful, and addiction is just an awful situation.
“Our children are our future,” he said. “I urge parents to set a good example for their children and instill in their children about having God’s guidance and direction in their lives.
“Remind them about the dangers of abusing alcohol and narcotic drugs which have destroyed many children and adults of our generation.”
He again thanked seniors for their support of his office throughout his career of 40-plus years.
“May God continue to bless and care for each of you is my prayer,” Dickerson said.
Ivory Craig, associate state director for AARP, sought support for the non-partisan non-profit organization.
She reviewed some aspects of AARP which include:
• does not sell insurance, but allows companies to contract with the organization to promote themselves.
• provides information, education and advocacy for seniors, the 50-plus population and their families.
• relies on volunteers and members to get its goals accomplished.
• supports Livable Communities, a network of age-friendly communities.
• protects seniors against fraud and scams and especially identity scams.
• seeks community volunteers.
• encourages seniors to register to vote and to vote.