Hancock Co., Miss. Nov. 5, 2020 – The Hancock Chamber of Commerce is honored to announce the 2020 Top 12 Outstanding Citizens and. Chamber members will vote for the Citizen of the Year over the course of the next week, and the winner will be announced on Shop Small Saturday, which is Nov. 28th. All Outstanding Citizens will ride in the Bay St. Louis Christmas Parade and will be honored at a small reception at 200 North Beach to follow. Tickets and sponsorship packages for the parade viewing and reception are available online at https://hancockchamber.org.
After Hurricane Katrina, Cami and her husband Dave brought their family to Hancock County as volunteers, fell in love and made Waveland their home. When their children, Danna, Duncan and Baylie, were in school at Bay High, she was involved with the booster clubs for baseball and cheerleading. After they graduated, she became involved with more community-oriented groups. Cami is constantly pushing to improve Waveland through volunteer services, good citizenship and involvement in cultural and governmental services and events. Since 2016, Cami has been a board member for the Hancock County Tourism Bureau and is currently serving as President. She also serves on the Coastal Mississippi Advisory Committee, eager to serve and promote all things that contribute to Hancock County. Serving as the Chair of the Waveland Economic Development Committee, Cami is on the Destination Waveland committee. For the past 18 years, she has worked as the Controller for Burbank Emergency Medical Group and Burbank Urgent Care, both located in California.
PENELOPE “PENNY” WALLACE CRAWFORD
Penny’s many contributions as a dedicated volunteer can be seen throughout Diamondhead: serving as president of the Diamondhead Garden Club, co-chairing the Diamondhead Pilgrimage, co-founding “Keep Diamondhead Beautiful”, working to develop the Maluhia public garden, designing the landscaping of the City entrance and spearheading the creation of Diamondhead as a “Bird Sanctuary.” She also co-organized planting over 150 live oak trees, helped scouts plant native trees on the public walking trail and consulted and worked on the Rotten Bayou Watershed project. As an artist, she has donated her time and artwork to many charities, the City of Diamondhead and the Diamondhead Library. She teaches painting to veterans and adults and chairs an open weekly painting workshop. Penny and her husband Ping have made hundreds of bags of cotton candy for the annual Diamondhead Christmas on the Town Green. She also provides hand-made hats and blankets for cancer patients. Penny has supported the City as designer for their award winning booth at the Rotary Chili Cook-0ff. She also played a critical role as volunteer and brand designer for the highly successful “Paddle Paradise” event attracting over 100 kayakers. Of course she says her most important accomplishment is her 56-year marriage to Ping.
RHONDA AIME GAMBLE
A native of Hancock County, when Rhonda and her husband Jay, moved to Waveland, she didn’t wait for an invitation, she jumped right in and got involved. If there was a volunteer project, someone who needed help, she stepped up. When COVID hit, she put her skills to work, first starting an online Facebook group “COVID-19 Mask Response” in response to the shortage of face masks for front line workers. The goal was to get volunteers to sew fabric masks and provide them for free to any group that asked. The initial group of volunteers made masks at home and as the need grew and volunteers increased, Rhonda found space for a“mini-manufacturing factory” where volunteers worked in shifts cutting the donated cotton fabric, sewing and ironing. She worked out the tedious details and even perfected a pattern for the masks to respond to the shortage in a matter of weeks. She worked most of the 12 hour shifts, seven days a week, leading by example. The group started with 48 members and grew to 600 by June. At last count, more than 10,000 free masks were delivered to the military, businesses, first responders, nursing homes, schools, jails, USPS drivers and hospitals. The Mask Response Group is now focusing their time and talents working on projects for children in need. Rhonda has dedicated much of her life to quietly giving back to the community through many volunteer activities including her church, CASA, veterans and her work with prisoners.
Following three decades in the tourism industry, Janice made her dream come true six years ago when she opened her retail shop, Bay Life–first on Main Street and now at Century Hall. It was not long before she put her expertise to work for Hancock County. In 2016-2017, she served as President of the Old Town Merchants, focusing on limiting street vendors, and improving marketing. Never one to take the spotlight, she is a strong advocate for small town retailers. She gives credit to them who face the daily financial challenges brought on by unexpected disasters, yet graciously supporting local causes and helping visitors find their way around town. She served two years on the board of The Arts and later was tapped to serve on the Chamber board, representing the organization on the Hancock County Tourism Bureau. While growing up in Natchez as a protégé to her beloved father, she developed a passion for real estate development. As a tribute to him, she took on another role for the Chamber as co-chair of the Chamber’s Parade of Homes, showcasing 70 homes to more than 1,000 prospects from 8 states to drive $27.9 million in real estate sales.
Paul is a longtime advocate of economic development, community activities and tourism development and promotion, especially in the Kiln and rural areas of Hancock County. When he is not volunteering his time to help promote Hancock County, he operates his own property management business. Recently, he was appointed to the Tourism Board by the Hancock County Board of Supervisors. Under his leadership, the Hancock County Fair was re-established at the Arena after Katrina. He worked closely with the Hancock County Board of Supervisors to bring this event to a professional level as a thriving non-profit organization. As chairman of the Hancock County Community Committee, this volunteer group spear-heads an annual fair, second to none featuring regional bands, livestock exhibits, carnival rides, local restaurants, a 4-D barrel run, exhibition horse races, and a high school rodeo. Proceeds from the Fair support the annual event and improvements to the Hancock County Fairgrounds.
Connie is outreach pastor at The King’s Kitchen at Central Bible Church in Bay St. Louis serving under the leadership of Pastor Mike Ramsey and Terrie Ramsey. Kings Kitchen is phase one of an ongoing vision by the Church to serve and meet the needs of the homeless and indigent in the community. Through King’s Kitchen, the church provides a time of sharing and fellowship with others while providing a nutritious hot meal for the community. Connie’s passion is to offer those in need a better quality of life and direct them toward a healthy lifestyle. She believes feeding people is the way to their hearts. Her passion takes her in to the community to gather information and resources for those in need. She oversees the facility and recruits volunteers to keep The King’s Kitchen operating efficiently and effectively. She also has a fruit bearing Ministry called “Under The Olive Tree” and she hosts a Sunday radio show on Rejoice 104.3FM. Connie believes in building an orchard that has grace, character, and tenacity, clothed in righteousness.
DONNA COWART MARTIN
When Donna and her husband Bob moved to Waveland, little did they know what was in store. They decided to accept an invitation to attend the Hemingway Fest at the Ground Zero Hurricane Museum, he won the look-alike contest and from that point on they were both recruited to help raise awareness and funds for the museum. Donna was recruited to serve on the Board of Directors for the Museum and now serves as secretary. Early on, she brought her PR skills as a retired journalism teacher to work generating publicity for the museum. Later, she set a goal to secure grants for the museum, using her experience as a non-profit director to establish new exhibits. Her work led to a $7,500 award from the 2019 Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area’s Community Grant. Under her leadership, a new exhibit: When Wind and Water Speaks, the Voices of Katrina was produced to collect oral histories of survivors, now the cornerstone of the Museum. An avid promoter of Waveland, her passion is her art. As the owner of her own fused glass and art studio: DragonFire she often hosts visiting artists from throughout the country, teaching the craft of her art. Recently she was invited by Mississippi’s First Lady to create a Christmas ornament for the Governor’s Mansion to honor frontline workers in response to COVID.
LINDSEY LIND RICHARD
Lindsey goes above and beyond to serve as a community leader and give back to Hancock County. A graduate of Leadership Hancock, she recently participated in the Leadership Legacy program learning Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. She is an active member of Junior Auxiliary of Hancock and serves as membership chair. She contributes time and efforts to help the less fortunate children and adults of the community. Annually she is a supporter and sponsor for Hancock High school athletics and the Christian Blue Jordan Memorial scholarship. She is also a CASA volunteer and advocate and this year, she was named as a Maid to the Royal Court for the 10 Year Anniversary of CASA Hancock. She also serves on the CASA Poker Run committee raising funds to train and recruit new advocates for foster children. Lindsey serves in a leadership role on the vestry of Christ Episcopal Church where she also is a youth leader for the Sunday School program and a camp counselor for the annual Vacation Bible School. She is passionate about keeping a positive image for Hancock County as an active member of the Hancock Chamber and a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty. She enjoys promoting the county to all of her new clients and customers.
CATHERINE AND JIM MACPHAILLE
It all started with the building of a residential development on North Beach at Cedar Point . More and more, the residents began seeing an outgoing New Orleans developer named Jim MacPhaille coming to the Bay and investing in properties while his wife and business partner, Catherine, worked quietly behind the scenes. As we came to know, they are experienced historic property restoration developers from New Orleans who have developed more than 1,000 properties during their career. They see the potential, charm and beauty of the Bay and for the past 15 years, they have brought their talent, vision and resources to Hancock County. Never thinking they would be in the “restaurant business” they now own three—housed in historic structures they restored that collectively employ more than 100 people at PJ’s Coffee, the Creole Creamery and 200 North Beach. More restaurants are expected in the near future with their latest investment on Depot Row. They have also invested in restoring Century Hall providing a unique retail opportunity for 15 local business owners. Catherine and Jim also have a vision to restore the A& G Theatre, the Alcan Plant, the Second Street School, and the Waveland Resort Inn. Their passion is bringing historic structures back to life for everyone to enjoy and they have done just that with more to come.
DINA HITT ROSETTI
As treasurer of the Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse, Dina Rosetti works behind the scenes with her husband John for events throughout the year giving back to the community in a big way. Not only do these events fuel local small businesses but the proceeds they raise go right back in to the community through charitable giving estimated at well over $10,000 last year alone. Her volunteer career has evolved throughout the years first with the Hancock County Exchange Club. In the mid 90’s, her volunteerism was personal when she dedicated herself to the memory of her best friend’s husband to establish the Scott Demboski Bay Area Youth Soccerplex. In 2017, she became the second female commodore in the history of the Bay-Waveland Yacht Club (BWYC). In 2010, BWYC named her woman of the year. If you know Dina, you know of her passion for Mardi Gras, serving for 21 years as an officer of the Krewe of Nereids. Dina’s business is as active as its owner. In 2019, Rosetti’s Liquor Barrel organized Bourbon on the Bay, its second benefit for Starfish Café’s experiential education program. The business has also sponsored benefits to help allay the expenses of individuals in need of hospitalizations, among others. In 2009, Brown-Forman, named Rosetti’s Liquor Barrel as Off Premise Retailer of the Year.
For the past 25 years, her passion has been education as part of St. Stanislaus, Holy Trinity, Saint Clare, and Tusa Swimming. As a small business owner of Bay Books with her husband Jeremy, she saw opportunities in her hometown of Waveland to bring more attention to the City and Coleman Avenue. Established in August 2019, Kristen is the force behind the ever popular “Food Truck Friday” bringing people together for a variety of good food and fun. And her passion for Waveland did not stop there. Her memories as a Girl Scout walking in the Veterans Day Parade on Main Street as the daughter of a Navy Veteran, gave her the idea to bring that tradition to Waveland to honor veterans through an annual parade in 2019. In everything she does, Kristen makes it a point to include her children, Gabriel and Ruth Ellen with other youth. It is the youth, she says, who will carry on these traditions. Recognizing her many talents and passion for Waveland, Mayor Smith asked her to coordinate the Christmas events for the City growing to three events this year. She believes that being active in our communities is integral to the growth of that community. She proves this through her selfless actions.