Wimberly Named DOLTR Director - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Wimberly Named DOLTR Director

Mary Wimberly has been named Director of the Diocesan Office of Long Term Recovery (DOLTR) for the Diocese of Biloxi, according to Sr. Rebecca Rutkowski, OSF, ACSW, diocesan director for Catholic Social and Community Services.            

Wimberly served as DOLTR'S assistant director from January 2006 until early June when she became acting director.

DOLTR is the diocesan program with the humanitarian mission of using donations, volunteers and funds to help people recover from Hurricane Katrina, regardless of age, race or religious affiliation. The agency works with parishes and other hurricane recovery agencies, and it has the responsibility of serving clients with hurricane losses throughout the 17 counties of the Diocese of Biloxi.

With a background in administration, public relations and mass communication, Wimberly has a bachelor's in Journalism and a master's in Public Relations from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has earned national accreditation in public relations (APR) through the Universal Accreditation Board of the Public Relations Society of America.            

She teaches a media and mass communication course as an adjunct professor at Tulane University's School of Continuing Studies in Biloxi, and was previously an adjunct instructor for the Public Relations master's program at USM-Gulf Coast.            

Before joining DOLTR, Wimberly was operations manager for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Golf Association, a non-profit golf destination marketing organization.            

This is Wimberly's second time to work for the Diocese of Biloxi. She was the founding editor of the Gulf Pine Catholic in 1983 and served in that capacity for six years.

She then joined the staff of United Way of South Mississippi with campaign and communications responsibilities. While at United Way, she was staff director of the nine-county Combined Federal Campaign, an annual, charitable campaign for Federal employees. While under her direction, South Mississippi's CFC was recognized as one of the fastest growing campaigns in the nation despite a period of Federal downsizing.

Wimberly is on the Board of Directors of the Ocean Springs-Long Beach Interfaith Hospitality Network, the mission of which is to empower homeless families with children to achieve independence with dignity. She has also been on the Board of the local St. Vincent dePaul Community (Free) Pharmacy.            

She is secretary for the Pastoral Council of Nativity BVM Cathedral Parish, Biloxi, and she was a cantor and choir member at the cathedral for many years. 

In 2000, Wimberly spearheaded Nativity BVM Cathedral Parish's project to build a Habitat for Humanity house in Biloxi, making Nativity the first Catholic parish in the Biloxi diocese to service as a Habitat covenant partner.  

"Decent, safe housing for families with children is my heart's passion," Wimberly says.  "No matter what else I'm doing, I always find myself being called back to work with programs that improve housing for those with the greatest need."            

Since Katrina, she and her husband, Deacon Ben Wimberly, have had their own housing issues-living in a FEMA travel trailer while their Katrina-flooded home is being rebuilt.            

"At least six members of our DOLTR staff are in similar situations," Wimberly says. "It certainly helps us to empathize with the clients who are hoping our program can assist them in rebuilding their homes and lives."            

The Wimberlys live in central Biloxi and are members of the cathedral parish. They have three children and three grandchildren.

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