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Dr. Clyde Muse to receive inaugural Hinds CC Hall of Fame award

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Dr. Clyde Muse (photo courtesy Hinds CC)

After a long and distinguished career serving Mississippi education and 42 years as Hinds Community College’s leader, Dr. Clyde Muse retired June 30.

Muse became president of Hinds July 1, 1978, and led the college through both good and turbulent periods. The college flourished with an expansion of programs, facilities and campuses, but also dealt with dwindling state resources.

His unprecedented accomplishments and love for students have resulted in his receiving the inaugural Foundation/Alumni Hall of Fame Award, which recognizes those who has demonstrated genuine interest and support of the college over an extended period of time. It is the highest honor presented by the Hinds Community College Foundation and the school’s alumni association.

This isn’t the first alumni-related award presented to the Muse family. The late Vashti Muse, Clyde Muse’s wife, was the recipient of the Alumni Service Award in 2008. The Hall of Fame award is a tribute to both Muses’ lifetime of service.

“To be given the opportunity over nearly 68 years of my life, to be in a position that I could be of service to others, was a great blessing to me,” Muse said in a statement. “I see this award as a testament for me in that my life has always been about service.”

Dr. Muse began his college career at what is now East Central Community College with no money but a desire for an education and a job to pay his way.

“The thing I kept thinking in the back of my mind was, ‘If you go to Hinds, you are going to have the opportunity over many occasions to help individuals go to school who don’t have that opportunity because of the circumstances they find themselves in. They don’t have the money, but they’ve got a desire to go,” Muse said.

He is best known for his soft spot for students, always putting them at the center of decisions. “I came here to help and serve people, to serve those students who come to Hinds and to put the student first,” he said.

His dedication to providing opportunity to students inspired the creation of the Hinds Community College Foundation as a vehicle to accept donations.

“It is fitting that Dr. Muse be the first recipient of this new award, mainly because of his 42 years of service to the Hinds foundation and alumni but especially since he is responsible for starting the Hinds Community College Foundation,” said Jackie Granberry, foundation executive director.

The foundation sponsored the Celebrating the Muse Legacy Luncheon Feb. 20, a fundraiser for the Muse Legacy Endowment that will support projects dear to Dr. Muse’s heart: scholarships, faculty and staff development, and community service. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of subsequent events and the endowment fell short of its $250,000 goal.

Contributions are still being accepted through the Hinds Community College Foundation by calling the Foundation office at 601-857-3363 or online.

Muse will be recognized along with other honorees in a ceremony Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. at Cain-Cochran Hall on the Raymond Campus. The event is free and open to the public. Health and safety protocols will be observed, and attendees are expected to wear a mask.

Other honorees include:

Dr. Christy Granberry Barrick of Madison is the recipient of Hinds’ inaugural Young Alumnus of the Year Award, which recognizes an alumnus under the age of 40 who has attained significant professional, personal or community success.

Also being recognized are Alumnus of the Year Bill Dunlap, who has a home in Mathiston, Mississippi; Alumni Service Award recipient Ken Coomes of Brandon.

Sports Hall of Fame inductees are Mike Burch, of Mobile, Alabama, football, 1986-1987; Jeffrey Fields, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, football, 1986-1987; Dwayne Green, of Fayetteville, Georgia, soccer, 1984-1987; Phyllis Rhodes Krebs, of Pelahatchie, basketball, 1981-1983; and Jeff Long, of Meadville, baseball, 1987-1989.

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Vicksburg native to receive Hinds CC Alumni Service Award

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(photo courtesy Hinds CC)

Ken Coomes grew up in Vicksburg as the third oldest in a family of 12 children. At 14, Coomes went to work and gave his money to his family – the only way they could pay the bills.

“My mom used to tell me there were blessings in poverty. I would tell her she could have all of mine,” said Coomes, who now lives in Brandon, Mississippi. “My father worked several jobs for a beverage distribution company owned by my mom’s cousin, and I asked him one time what success is. He said, ‘It’s being happy with where you are and what you have at the present time.’ I hold close to those words every day. Somehow, it keeps me focused.”

Coomes’ tireless participation in Hinds Community College events – including two golf tournament fundraisers that raised thousands for scholarships – has resulted in his being named the college’s 2020 Alumni Service Award winner.

A member of the Hinds Community College Foundation board of directors, Coomes’ support for Hinds ensures the educational opportunities for children that didn’t come his way. Each of his five children, Jake, Jordan, Chris, Mindy and Monica, attended Hinds. Already the benefactor for the Ken Coomes Endowed Scholarship, he provided another scholarship in memory of his mother following her death in 2018.

“There are so many people who deserve this award, but it’s my honor to accept it this year,” Coomes said. “It has been rewarding to work with Hinds for the past 30 years because I’ve seen lives change.”

When Coomes was growing up, the boys in his family went to work to help their father on the truck route when they turned 8. At 16, Coomes and his brothers went to work at a Jitney Jungle store in Vicksburg. Their paychecks went to dad so the bills could be paid.

“We didn’t have cellphones or computers, or games or air conditioners,” he said. “Some places we lived didn’t have running water. We had a well, and we bathed in a washtub on the back porch. We didn’t have money for Christmas or birthdays, but we did have loving parents who taught us how to love and support one another.”

Coomes felt college wasn’t an option for him due to cost, but he set out to fuel what he calls “a burning desire to get ahead in life” through hard work. The result has been a successful business career and a lifetime of service to Hinds Community College and education in general.

At 20, Coomes bought an old truck and began a vending route. Persistence and hard work led to other routes and a growing business. Now, 46 years later, he owns Coomes Distributors Inc., in Brandon. Operating primarily in snack food vending, the company has annual revenues of more than $1.5 million.

He will be recognized along with other honorees at a ceremony 4 p.m. Oct. 29 at Cain-Cochran Hall on the Raymond Campus. The event is free and open to the public. Health and safety protocols will be observed, and attendees are expected to wear a mask.

Also being recognized are Alumnus of the Year Bill Dunlap, who has a home in Mathiston, Mississippi, along with Sports Hall of Fame inductees Mike Burch, of Mobile, Alabama, football, 1986-1987; Jeffrey Fields, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, football, 1986-1987; Dwayne Green, of Fayetteville, Georgia, soccer, 1984-1987; Phyllis Rhodes Krebs, of Pelahatchie, basketball, 1981-1983; and Jeff Long, of Meadville, baseball, 1987-1989.

This year Hinds is introducing two new awards: Foundation/Alumni Hall of Fame and the Young Alumnus of the Year.

President Emeritus Dr. Clyde Muse of Raymond is receiving the inaugural Foundation Alumni Hall of Fame Award recognizing someone who has demonstrated over an extended period of time genuine interest and support of Hinds Community College. It’s the highest honor presented by the Foundation and Alumni Association.

Dr. Christy Granberry Barrick of Madison is receiving the Young Alumnus of the Year award, which recognizes an alumnus under the age of 40 who has attained significant professional, personal or community success.

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Crime

Car theft Friday at Circle K

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The Circle K convenience store at 4150 Washington St. in Vicksburg was the site of an auto theft early Friday.

Police officers responded to a call there just after midnight Friday.

The victim reported someone had driven off in his 2000 Toyota 4Runner while he was inside the store.

If you have any information on this theft, please call the Vicksburg Police Department at 601-636-2511.

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Crime

Williams tied to a third burglary in Vicksburg

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Vicksburg police investigators have tied Felix Williams, arrested earlier this week for two burglaries at the Vicksburg Mall, to another burglary that occurred in September.

Investigators identified Williams as the individual who robbed the BG Junior convenience store, 4110 Clay St., Sept. 12.

Williams, 30, appeared in Vicksburg Municipal Court Friday for his arraignment on one count of armed robbery and one count of possession of a weapon by a felon. Judge Angela Carpenter set his bond at $80,000 and bound him over to the Warren County grand jury.

For the mall burglaries, Williams was charged with four counts of business burglary and one count of grand larceny. Monday, Carpenter sent his bond for those charges at $400,000.

Williams was also on probation on another felony charge with the Mississippi Department of Corrections. VPD arrested him for possession of meth in May.

He remains in custody in the Warren County Jail.

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