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Gulf Coast community leaders gather for ‘Cheers to Chipper’ event

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 2:18 PM CDT
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PASS CHRISTIAN, Mississippi (WLOX) - Standing ovations don’t come easy, but for Chipper McDermott, the crowd at the Pass Christian Yacht Club made sure the outgoing mayor got the “job well done” message loud and clear.

Pass Christian and Gulf Coast leaders gathered for the “Cheers to Chipper” event hosted by the Pass Chamber of Commerce.

“He has done so much for the city. Bringing the city back from Hurricane Katrina. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for Chipper McDermott,” said Pass Alderman-At-Large Kenny Torgeson. “He brought Wal-Mart back, our biggest tax base. We have one of the top five schools in Mississippi.”

McDermott served as an alderman-at-large for the city, then became mayor during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“Chipper ran to the emergency,” said former Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie. “Chipper ran for office knowing what lay before him. But Chipper stepped up.”

However, 15 years later, he’s stepping down after working to get Pass Christian rebuilt after Katrina, and moving the city forward with a lot of building and economic development projects.

“He loves Pass. He will bleed Pass. I can’t think of anyone that I can look up to for the love of their city,” said current Long Beach Mayor George Bass.

Now he gets to sit back, have an adult beverage and go, as usual, with no socks.

“It wasn’t a year after the hurricane and they asked me ‘how are we gonna get out of this?’ I said “water got us into this, and water’s gonna get us out of it,” McDermontt said. “Everything we got is better than before and we tell them all the time that’s on the account of the generosity of the American taxpayer, and the tenacity of the Pass Christian people.”

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