WIGGINS, Miss. (WLOX) - American flags throughout Wiggins flew at half staff on Monday in honor of Mayor Joel Miles who died on Sunday after being hospitalized due to double pneumonia just weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
It’s a friendship that Wiggins City Attorney Jenny Tyler Baker said she will miss.
“It’s definitely going to be tough because we all worked with him very closely and got to know each other on a friend level,” Tyler Baker said. “We’ve lost a friend and a leader, and it’s going to be tough for a lot of us.”
Miles was more than just the mayor of Wiggins, but a lifelong resident of Stone County and the co-owner of Hudson Farm Supply in Wiggins. It was a special characteristic that Stone County Economic Development Partnership Executive Director Betsy M. Rowell believes helped Miles serve as mayor.
“I think that’s an important perspective for an elected official to have. You know, sometimes they don’t actually get it,” Rowell said. “He had to do a payroll, show up at work, and that sort of thing. So he understood the challenges, especially this year, that small businesses have had.”
Miles was a true member of the Wiggins community, a small town that grew to be an extension of Miles’s family.
“He’s helped promote some growth in the city and he was just a positive person that will be missed greatly,” said Wiggins Police Chief Jeff Thomas. “As a person, Joel was a private person, very humble. He would go out of his way to help someone that needed his assistance.”
Joel Miles was first hospitalized at George Regional Hospital before being transferred to Memorial Hospital on Friday. His family says they are appreciative of the staff at both hospitals for their efforts and care.