Partnership Banquet

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Awards handed out at Partnership event

By John Howell Sr.

Kenlea Blann was named Panola’s Miss Hospitality Thursday night during the Panola Partnership’s annual banquet.

Blann, the daughter of Dan and Debbie Daugherty, attends the University of Mississippi and was nominated by the Batesville Junior Auxiliary.

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2008 Miss Hospitality Sadie Broome crowned Blann in her new capacity. Anna Newcomb was selected as first alternate.

Billy Smith was named recipient of the James Hal Moore Excellence in Education Award. Smith, a 37-year educator who serves as vocational director for South Panola High School, is a 1968 graduate there who earned his bachelor’s and advanced degrees at Mississippi State University, and has served twice as president of Mississppi’s Association for Career and Technical Education ACTE) chapter.

He was unable to accept the award in person because he was in Little Rock “supporting his folks,” said South Panola School Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer, who accepted the award on Smith’s behalf.

Smith had accompanied a group to support South Panola cooperative education teacher Marcia Kilpatrick, who had been selected as Mississippi’s Cooperative Education Teacher of the Year, in a bid for selection as the region’s teacher of the year.

The Partnership’s Citizenship Award went to Roy Girner, whose volunteer efforts have helped build the momentum of Panola County’s annual “Secret Santa” project. Girner is a member of the Batesville Presbyterian Church where he has served as elder and deacon, the Sardis Rotary Club, the Sardis Chamber of Commerce and the Panola Partnership and the Four-Lake Good Sams.

Batesville Casket Company was recognized with the Partnership’s Business of the Year Award, a selection which acknowledge the Panola plant’s selection by its parent company as the G. C. Hillenbrand Plant of the Year.

Batesville Casket Company plant manager Jon Oakley accepted the award on behalf of his company.

Mary Troxler was named “Ambassador of the Year” for her tireless efforts on behalf of the Ambassadors whose red blazers identify them at community functions.

“She gets up and starts making coffee at 1 a.m. every year for the St. Jude Bass Tournament Classic,” said John Reed who presented Troxler with the award.

“I am bullish on Panola County,” said outgoing president Sledge Taylor during brief remarks before new Partnership president Steve Shideler stepped to the podium.

“There’s a can-do spirit in Panola County,” Taylor continued, although he acknowledged that “there are a thousand other communities out there trying to do the same thing we are.

“I don’t think there’s a thousand communities with something like the Panola Partnership,” Taylor said. “I think people recognize the importance of the Panola Partnership here.”

“I just want to thank the people that started the Panola Partnership,” Shideler said as he accepted the transfer of the presidency. “They didn’t let people say ‘you can’t do that.’”