Officials from the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce have announced the recipients of the organization’s two most prestigious awards: Jana Causey for the Bobby Runnels Leadership Award and Dr. David Roy for the Spirit of Petal Business of the Year Award.
The awards will be presented at the chamber’s annual banquet, which will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Petal Civic Center on South Main Street. The event is sponsored by Southern Grace Senior Homecare.
“(These recipients) are the heart of Petal, and they’re the face of Petal to other people,” said Valerie Wilson, executive director of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce. “We want to recognize those people that put such a great face to our city.
“They truly represent the kind of people that live here in Petal, and the type of individuals that contribute to our community.”
The Bobby Runnels Leadership Award, which was instituted in 1994, is given each year to someone who serves the community through church, family, school, civic clubs or the chamber, and the name of the recipient is kept a secret until each year’s banquet. The award is named for Bobby Runnels, who served on Petal’s first elected board of aldermen and as mayor pro tem while then-mayor Jack Gay served in Desert Storm.
This year’s recipient, Causey, serves as vice president for Forrest County Operations at Pearl River Community College, a position she started in 2015. She had worked at PRCC’s Forrest County Center 10 years prior to that, including two years as assistant vice president.
Causey serves with the Petal Children’s Task Force and the Petal Youth Sports Association, as well as a member of Delta Kappa Gamma society for women educators.
“She truly exemplifies all the qualities of the Bobby Runnels award; she goes above and beyond what her work requires her to do, and is a part of our community wholeheartedly,” Wilson said. “Jana is involved with her church, she teaches newlywed classes, she’s very active with the youth sports and coaches youth teams, she in on the Excel By 5 coalition.
“She’s just so active in so many civic events.”
Previous recipients of the Bobby Runnels Leadership Award include, but are not limited to, Drew Brickson, Brad Eubank, Tom King, Nadine Coleman, Leahne Lightsey, Ione Bond, Jack Gay, Dr. Chuck Harrell and Lynn Cartlidge.
The Spirit of Petal Business of the Year Award, which is in its second year, recognizes a business that contributes to the economic growth and quality of life in Petal. Recipients should display practices and professional conduct that contributes to a sense of cooperation within the entire business community.
This year’s recipient, Roy, is a dermatologist at Pine Belt Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center on South Main Street in Petal. He is board certified and a Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery.
Roy received his undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and his medical degree from NOVA Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He completed an internship in internal medicine at Grandview Hospital/Kettering Medical Center network in Dayton, Ohio. Roy completed his dermatology residency at Midwestern University in Phoenix, Arizona and Kingman Regional Medical Center, where he served as chief resident in dermatology.
“One of the things (that made Roy worthy of the award) is the overwhelming love his patients and his employees have for him, and what he’s done for our community,” Wilson said. “He is very philanthropic, and is always willing to help any cause in our area.
“He’s a generous supporter of the Petal Children’s Task Force, Excel By 5, and he’s a sponsor for the Petal High School Ambassadors.”
In addition, officials will recognize the Police Officer of the Year and the Firefighter of the Year at the chamber’s banquet. The Police Officer of the Year will be awarded to Jeremy Brown of the Petal Police Department, while the Firefighter of the Year will be awarded to Casey Johnson of the Petal Fire Department.
Tickets to the banquet are $35 per individual or $350 for a corporate table of eight, and can be purchased on the chamber’s website at www.petalchamber.com. Derrick Tennant, an internationally known comedian, speaker and musician, will provide the entertainment for the event.
“Everybody can purchase a ticket; you don’t have to be a chamber member,” Wilson said. “If you want to come support any of the award winners … the public is welcome to come help honor them by purchasing a ticket.”