Petal’s Williams presented Allen Whitfield award during National Jaycees conference


Petal native Miranda Williams has had a pretty storied career in the Mississippi Jaycees, serving as State president in 2015 and 2018, as well as spearheading the movement to start the Petal Jaycees last year.

For her achievements as last year’s president, Williams was awarded with the Allen Whitfield Memorial Award for Outstanding State President at the United States Jaycees National Convention, held last month in Indianapolis. But Williams is quick to point out that the award – which is presented annually to the Top 20 outstanding Jaycee state presidents in the nation – isn’t hers alone.

“I was surprised by it, actually,” said Williams, who also received her 10th Degree in the Civic Leadership program. “Our chapter had to submit me for it, and it was unexpected. But we worked hard as a group last year, so that award reflects all three of the chapters (in Mississippi) and the work that we did.”

The Mississippi Jaycees – which is made up of the Petal, Hattiesburg and Picayune groups – also brought home its share of awards as a group and individual organizations. Overall, the Mississippi Jaycees were honored with the Andrew G. Mungenast Memorial Award for the highest percentage of new chapters opened, as well as the Top Growth State in the USA for growing by 680 percent.

Hattiesburg Jaycees earned a certificate of achievement for growing in membership by 212 percent.

“When we started, we only had the one (Hattiesburg) chapter, so the highest percentage-wise, we opened the most in the nation,” Williams said. “It’s super exciting for the national organization to recognize the hard work that we did.”

The Mississippi Jaycees is made up of citizens ranging in age from 18 to 40, who donate their time to improving their communities. The organization is currently recruiting new members and hopes to open new chapters in other communities.

For more information on how to join, call Williams at (601) 467-9011 or email