Connect with us

Hometown Hero

For Kami May, working with the United Way is a dream come true

Published

on

Kami May and her boyfriend, Ethan Mitchell.

Ever since she can remember, Kami May, Vicksburg native and 2011 Warren Central High School graduate, has had a love for helping others. Even when she was in high school, she volunteered with several organizations, and she believes her desire to help others is just a part of who she is.

“I don’t really know where it came from,” May said. “It’s kind of in my DNA. … Just always having that spirit, that give-back attitude and being a people person has always been in my DNA—to be happy and to be giving all the time. I just grew up that way and always knew I wanted to help people.”

May, who studied communications at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, has been working toward her ideal career since she was a teen.

“I had to have an internship to complete my studies, and my search led me to United Way,” May said. “I actually had a church member, Lori Burke, who served on the board at United Way in Vicksburg, and she told me about the organization. I reached out and was able to do my internship here.”

May’s internship lasted two months when the director of marketing and communications left for a new job. Michelle Connelly, executive director of the United Way West Central Division, offered the job to May.

“That began my career in nonprofits, which was my dream goal since graduating high school,” May said.

After three years with the United Way, May continues to do what she loves, and she learns something new each day.

“Working at United Way, every day is different, and every day has a new story to tell, a new opportunity to serve,” May said. “Every day is a new story to add to a book of things that I’ve helped out with. There’s not a day that goes by here that I’m not helping at least one person, and that means a lot to me.”

May knows that wherever life takes her, she will continue to serve.

“I don’t know what the future holds for me,” she said. “I’m still very young, 26. I haven’t figured that out yet, and that’s OK. I do feel like my love for nonprofits will never go away no matter what the future holds. Whether I stay in nonprofits or leave them, I know that I will continue to give, I will continue to advocate, and I will continue to volunteer.”

Hometown Hero

Chris Gilmer, Hometown Hero

Published

on

Chris Gilmer shows Kofi Louis how to work his new lock. (photo by David Day)

The story of the 13-year-old young man, Kofi Louis, who had his bicycle stolen at gunpoint angered the community. The robber not only took Louis’ bike but his keychain containing his house key. Louis and his sister hardly slept for fear of the robber breaking into their house in the dead of night.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace along with Vicksburg Police Chief Milton Moore, Warren County Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs and Reed Birdsong with Warren County Emergency Management, among others, came out to show their support for the Louis family and to let Kofi Louis and his sister, Alicia Louis, know they are not alone. Everyone was prepared to give money out of their pockets to ensure he got a new bike.

When Chris Gilmer of Vicksburg Locksmith heard about the families vulnerability because of the stolen key, he dropped everything to help. While the assembled law enforcement and community safety experts transported Louis and his sister to Walmart for a new bicycle, Gilmer stayed at the family home and installed a new lock on the door — a top-quality, high-dollar lock and dead bolt.

Gilmer would accept no money from anyone there for the lock, valued at several hundred dollars, or the service.

When the Louises and their new security team returned to the home, Kofi Louis was infatuated with his new bicycle. Briggs, Pace and Birdsong all started working to put on the new lights, and install batteries and water bottle holders. Gilmer took Louis aside and showed him the new front door lock.

Louis tested it a few times, closed and opened the door several times, and then had his sister stand inside and lock him out so he could test it some more. Over the next 15 minutes, while the gentlemen of the county were working on his bike, Kofi must have locked, unlocked and entered that door at least 10 times, each time looking in amazement at the craftsmanship and feeling a new sense of security with his new door locks.

To this observer, it seems Kofi may have been more pleased with his locks and door than with anything else. A sense of security can mean a lot, especially after what Louis had been through.

“They aren’t getting through this,” Louis told Gilmer with confidence.

For his selfless actions, his understanding of how the family felt, and his above-and-beyond efforts to make that family feel safe, the Vicksburg Daily News is honored to name Chris Gilmer the Vicksburg Daily News Hometown Hero for October 2020.

If you need locksmith service, please give Chris a call at Vicksburg Locksmith 601-529-0898.

Continue Reading

Hometown Hero

Woodrow Price: providing good male role models to Vicksburg’s boys

Published

on

Warren Central Intermediate teacher Woodrow Price.

Most people associate the word “teacher” with ABCs and 1,2,3s, but for one Vicksburg educator, being a good teacher has always meant something much more than that.

For Woodrow Price, lead teacher at Warren Central Junior High School, the job goes beyond reading and math.

“Most schools in our area are Title 1 schools. That just means we have large concentrations of students from low-income families,” Price said. “Most of the time when you have a lot of low-income families, you’ll find a lot of single parent households. Typically, there is no consistent father figure in these homes, and kids need a good male role model in their lives.”

That fact prompted Price to step in and step up, so he began several programs aimed at introducing successful, male role models in children’s lives.

One of Price’s programs is Real Men Read. Once a month, Price recruits successful men in the community to his school to read with students.

“The men we invite are businessmen, police officers, firemen, local politicians, you name it. I want the kids — especially the boys — to see what they can achieve,” he said.

Similar programs Price introduced are Boys to Men and Dress for Success. Those, too, are aimed at providing students with positive male role models.

“I grew up in a single parent household, but I’m grateful I had a grandfather, an uncle and a pastor,” Price said. “Too many kids in Vicksburg aren’t as blessed as I was.”

With the growing number of young people committing crimes in our community, Price said he felt something had to be done.

“It’ll really get you down,” he said, “and I found myself thinking how different things could’ve been for that kid with the right guidance.”

Price also thinks about how easily his life could have taken a wrong turn.

“I was lucky. I had good men in my life,” he said. “If not for them, who knows where I would have ended up?”

Continue Reading

Hometown Hero

Tracye Prewitt: ‘follow your dreams’

Published

on

Tracye Prewitt

Tracye Prewitt, an instructor at Dana Road Elementary School, met the challenges of being an instructor, and for 14 years, she has served as a mentor and positive figure to students at her school.

Her educational journey started at Mississippi State University as a history major, and later, the Lexington, Miss., native became a stay-at-home mother before moving to Vicksburg. She then decided to get back into the workforce, and Dana Road Elementary caught her attention.

As a member of the Dana Road Community Outreach program and faculty, Prewitt has brought several community leaders to the school to speak to her students.

“Being a part of the Community Outreach is a big deal,” she said. “One of our biggest events is the Leader In Me event, and that’s a team effort. My biggest event that I do is Read Across America.

“I strive to get people in the community and people that have an impact on our community to come out and read to the school. I want these kids to know that these important people such as the mayor, the governor, the lieutenant governor, the first lady of the state, representatives and former military generals think they’re important enough to take time out of their day to come and read a book to them.”

Even outside of work, Prewitt’s students are still her priority. She started an initiative to encourage her students to read more and to get the community more involved in education.

“I asked my friends on Facebook to sponsor my class for a month, and for $1 a child or $30 for a month, they bought the entire class a book,” she said. “Most have come out to the school, and read their book that they sponsored and presented the kids with the books. Sponsors have been (Mississippi Rep.) Oscar Denton, Shelley Tingle, Angel Meade, Tina Arrington, Robert Crear, just to name a few. The kids have loved getting books to take home that they can read forever. This bolsters literacy as well as community involvement.”

Pruitt hopes to continue being a positive impact on her students and let them know the sky is the limit when it comes to reaching their goals.

“I want my students to know that they can be anything they want to be and don’t settle for any reason,” she said. “Always strive to be what you want to be and follow your dreams.”

Continue Reading

Vicksburg
54°
Clear
6:41am4:59pm CST
Feels like: 54°F
Wind: 3mph N
Humidity: 53%
Pressure: 30.24"Hg
UV index: 0
TueWedThu
73/63°F
77/45°F
72/52°F

Categories

Categories

Trending

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!