Monday, April 7, 2014

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April 7, 2014 - 10:10am
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  POPLARVILLE - The late Delos Hudson Burks was proud of his humble beginnings, calling himself “just a country boy.”
  He graduated from Pearl River Junior College in 1946 and went on to serve with distinction in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and in numerous public service positions until his death in 2008.
  He is one of six alumni being inducted into the Pearl River Community College Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame on April 17 at Southern Oaks House and Gardens in Hattiesburg. Other inductees are entertainer Jimmy Buffett, who will accept by video; retired banker James R. Ginn of Bay St. Louis, retired surveyor Francis Herrin of Hattiesburg, retired Secret Service agent Howell Purvis of Purvis and retired attorney Donnie Waits of Gulfport.
  Delos Burk served as a charter member of the Pearl River Community College Development Foundation board and was always an active member of the Pearl River County Alumni Association and took great pride in supporting our students at the college,” said Ernie Lovell, executive director of the Development Foundation. “He carried that support for education on to Jackson through his time in the Legislature. He was a tremendous proponent of education.”
  Burks’ granddaughter, State Sen. Angela Burks Hill of Picayune, will accept the award on behalf of the family.
  Marsha Burks Megehee of Picayune remembers her father talking about his days at Pearl River and the college’s impact on his life.
  “PRJC enabled country boys like him to obtain an education in his own community, providing a step up to him and those like him, to further their education at a four-year college,” she said. “He always believed the school was responsible for his later accomplishments in service to his state and country.”
  Burks came to Pearl River after graduating from Industrial High School in rural Pearl River County and worked on the college farm for 10 cents an hour. After graduation, he taught high school math for several years before enlisting in the Army Air Corps. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in May 1942 and two days later married Melva Rester.
  He and his crew flew 35 combat missions in B-26 Marauders and OA-10A Catalinas (PBYs) in the Pacific Theater, saving the lives of 172 downed pilots during sea rescues. Burks was promoted to major and left active duy in 1945 to pursue his bachelor’s degree at then-Mississippi Southern College.
  He earned the law degree in 1954 while serving in the state Legislature from 1952-1960 and as a National VFW Press Officer. He also served on the state Building Commission, as an assistant attorney general and on the Ethics Commission. Burks continued his military service in the Mississippi Air National Guard, retiring as a major general.
  He and his late wife had three children, seven grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
  “He would be so proud that he is being honored at PRCC, a school he dearly loved and appreciated,” Megehee said.

Tickets for the gala are $100 and are available by calling 601 403-1191 through Friday, April 11.

Delos Burks

 
April 7, 2014 - 10:14am
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  Two Gulf Coast residents will be among those honored by Pearl River Community College with induction into the Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame.
  James Ginn of Diamondhead and Donnie Waits of Gulfport will be inducted on Thursday, April 17, at Southern Oaks House and Gardens in Hattiesburg.
  Ginn, who is retired as executive vice president for Hancock Bank, played football at Pearl River and earned his degree in 1959.
  “I guess the thing that I looked back at is they cared for us,”  he said of his time at Pearl River. “Back then, you had to go to school. You couldn’t lay in the sack because if you had three unexcused absences you were out.”
  He went onto Delta State before starting his banking career in 1962. 
  Waits played on the Wildcat football teams of  1954 and 1955.
  “The people were down to earth and fun-loving but, at the same time, serious about going to school,” Waits said. After leaving Pearl River, he attended then-Mississippi Southern College and Tulane Law School.
  His career as an attorney included serving as Stone County prosecuting attorney and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps and Marine Reserves.
  Others to be inducted into the Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame are entertainer Jimmy Buffett (who will accept by video), the late Delos Burks of Picayune, who served in several state positions including the Legislature and in the Mississippi Air National Guard; Francis Herrin of Hattiesburg, who had a 40-year career with Shell Oil Co.; and retired Secret Service agent Howell Purvis of Purvis.
  Corporate sponsor for the gala is Hattiesburg Coca-Cola. Tickets for the social at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. are $100. They can be purchased through Friday, April 11, by calling 601-403-1191.

James Ginn

Donnie Waits

 
April 7, 2014 - 10:24am
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  Three men with ties to the Hattiesburg area are among those in the 2014 class of the Pearl River Community College Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame.
  Francis Herrin of Hattiesburg, Howell Purvis of Purvis and Donnie Waits of Gulfport will be inducted during a gala on Thursday, April 17, at Southern Oaks House and Garden.
  Herrin, a native of Prentiss, graduated from Pearl River in 1958 and enjoyed a 40-year career as a surveyor with Shell Oil Co. in Jeannerette and New Orleans, La.
  “Going there really made it for me, to tell you the truth,” Herrin said. “Now that I look back I have to say that was some of the best days of my lfie. After I got kind of settled in down there and got to know a lot of people, we had a lot of fun.”
  Purvis completed his degree at Pearl River in 1956 and began a varied career that included two stints as a Naval aviator and 20 years with the U.S. Secret Service.
  “I was in the band at Pearl River, played trumpet and really, really loved that,” Purvis said. “I made a lot of wonderful friends. We still email back and forth.”
  Purvis continues to play trumpet and has played “Taps” at more than 300 military funerals with the VFW Post 3036 Honor Guard.
  Waits, a Hattiesburg native, played football on the 1954 and 1955 Pearl  River teams.
  “The people were down to earth and fun-loving but, at the same time, serious about going to school,” Waits said.
  His career as an attorney included serving as Stone County’s prosecuting attorney and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps and Marine Reserves.
  Other PRCC alumni who will be honored with induction are entertainer Jimmy Buffett (who will accept by video), the late Delos Burks of Picayune who served in several state positions including the Legislature and in the Mississippi Air National Guard; and retired banker James Ginn of Diamondhead
  Corporate sponsor for the gala is Hattiesburg Coca-Cola. Tickets for the social at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. are $100. They can be purchased through Friday, April 11, by calling 601-403-1191.

Francis Herrin

Howell Purvis

Donnie Waits