Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College received a national public relations award in March for its involvement in the Veteran's History Project.
Over the last year, this living history project has recorded the stories of more than 200 local military veterans from the naval battles in the South Pacific during World War II to jungle patrols in Vietnam to Marines just returning from the deserts of Iraq.
The college won the Paragon Award in the Community Relations category from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations. The college was presented the bronze Paragon at NCMPR's annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minn., from a field over more than 1,500 entries.
The college, along with its community partners- WLOX television, Keesler Federal Credit Union and Chevron-Texaco Pascagoula Refinery- brought the history project to South Mississippi in March 2004.
The stories are now being used in Gulf Coast history classes and being sent to the Library of Congress for a permanent record.
Along with the Paragon award, the college was also invited to present an overview of the Veteran's History Project at the conference.
Rich Kopp, college photographer, and Ken Flanagan, public information specialist for the college, gave a detailed description of the history project to dozens of community college leaders from around the country.
"Our entire college is proud of this history project," Kopp said. "I have recorded almost 100 of our interviews for this project, and it's still amazing to hear about historical events from the common soldier's point of view. It really brings our history to life."
The Paragon Awards recognize outstanding achievement in communications at community, junior and technical colleges. It's the only national competition of its kind that honors excellence exclusively among marketing and public relations professionals at two-year colleges.