Seal Remembered During Infinity Groundbreaking

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Before he died Monday night, Leo Seal had a dream. He wanted Stennis Space Center to explore new horizons. The Infiniti science and education center should be the catalyst that makes Seal's final wish come true.

On Thursday, Mr. Seal was in the hearts and minds of dignitaries at Infinity's groundbreaking. One of those dignitaries was Hancock Bank's George Schloegel. He was at Seal's bedside Monday night, just before the chairman of the Infinity project passed away.

"He said, 'You cover for me.' I said okay," Schloegel remembered. "He said, 'Now twist a few arms, because we need a few more dollars.'"

At Thursday's groundbreaking ceremony, Schloegel tried his best to convey Mr. Seal's passion for this project. In the 1960's, Seal helped bring Stennis Space Center to Hancock County. Yet, he always knew more was needed to showcase Mississippi's ties to space exploration.

"He knew that the site was closed to the public. And the world eye was not seeing what really goes on here," Schloegel noted. "And ultimately it had to be opened in some form or another. And Infinity is that form."

So in the last years of his life, Seal reached out to lawmakers and made sure Infinity would become a reality. Myrtis Franke remembered what Senator Trent Lott said after getting a call from the Infinity project's chairman.

"If Leo Seal wants it, we're going to do it," Franke said.

She also remembered Lott saying, "He never asked for anything, so if he wants this in Hancock County, it will be in Hancock County."

As a tribute to Mr. Seal and his commitment to Infinity, the board of directors left a hard hat and a shovel in front of the 200 acres where the science museum will be built.

According to Schloegel, "What Leo wanted me to express to you was how much he appreciates those of you who have committed your personal fortune and your personal talents to make this happen. He had Infinity on his mind right to the last minute, because that's Leo Seal."

Infinity should open in the fall of 2010.