Mississippi Gem Shines In George County

"It was gratifying to see that Lucedale, with a population of 2,458 people, could win this award. We did it through dedication and hard work," said City Clerk Kathy Johnson.

Like proud parents, city leaders have put the heavy marble award from the Municipal League over the fireplace in city hall. Kathy Johnson wrote the award winning presentation, but said the real work began a few years ago. That's when the city set up eight different volunteer committees to gave residents an outlet.

"Our citizens have put a lot of hard work into Lucedale over the last few years and now it's showing up and we are very proud of Lucedale. There are a lot things happening," said Johnson.

Things like expanding the city's library, adding classrooms to the community college, and creating an Arts Center.

Jim Corley is one of dozens of volunteers making it happen in Lucedale.

"We are small town, and kind of stuck out of the way, but it's really a very progressive little town," said Corley.

Jim's committee got the old American League building donated to the city, and now plans to turn the building into a showcase for the city's fine art.

"You pass through other little towns and they don't seem to have spark to them, but Lucedale does. And, of course, it's always the people that do it," said Corley.

Residents and city leaders are also excited about two other programs starting in Lucedale. The Boys and Girls Club is working to bring a chapter to the city, and the United Way just started funding the area's Literacy Council.

By: Ken Flanagan