Eties, Overstreet honored, Wade delivers address

By DEMETRIUS THOMPSON,

Dedication to community service was the theme of the night at the annual Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce Banquet on Saturday at ECCC's Mabry Cafeteria.

Guest speaker Maggie Wade, longtime news anchor for WLBT in Jackson, inspired the crowd with her stories of her faith and community service, and three Decatur residents were honored for their contributions to the town.

State Rep. Randy Rushing presented the Citizen of the Year Award to Decatur Volunteer Fire Department Chief Raymond Overstreet. During his short speech, Overstreet recited a famous quote that summed up being a firefighter that reads, "Being a firefighter is also being a part of the brotherhood. From the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it."

Overstreet has been with the DVFD for more than four decades and has been the fire chief for five years.

Overstreet married his wife, Jane, in the late 1960s. They have two daughters and six grandchildren, and two of his grandsons are also members of the DVFD.

He is a member of Decatur United Methodist Church and also worked at La-Z-Boy for 44 years before retiring in 2010.

Chamber board member Mickey Vance presented a plaque to the 2017 Christmas Parade Grand Marshals Sid and Jackie Etie.

"I think that what's really important, and Maggie talked about it, is that in this world of critics and criticism, a little encouragement goes a long way," Jackie said in her speech. "And that's what we take from this. We thank the chamber for this honor. To be encouraged by the people who really know you and who you grew up with and who participated in molding your life is such an honor. We are humbled by this, and we are thankful."

After being introduced by Theresa Buntyn, in her speech, Wade praised the town's motto "Faith, Family and Education" and said that all three are desperately needed in America America right now.

"There's nothing like small town America, and I can see in Decatur how you are working together to bring this town up, and you're fortunate that you have leaders here who know the importance of service and the importance of compassion and who know that either we all win together or we all lose together," she told the audience.

Wade, a Crystal Springs native, spoke about her career and volunteer work which converged with her special segment "Wednesday's Child" that helped 7,000 foster children find homes.

Wade said that while she is proud of what the segment accomplished for children around the state, there is still more work to be done to improve the state's adoption system.

"The first thing is what we have to move them through the system a lot faster than we do," she said. "Sometimes it takes too long to get children in loving homes, and what so many people don't understand is that the  foundation of the character, the ethics and the morals of that child, are formed when they are young. The great thing about having wonderful parents is that they are the ones who build that great foundation. They are the ones who give the children the toolboxes that they need to go out and face the world with God's help.

"It's important that all of our children feel that they matter and that they're loved, and they have that foundation. And if their parents aren't doing it we can't use that as an excuse because all of us can touch that child in a way and help them have what they need."

The event also featured music by The Belles, which consists of Carolyn Huey, Ada McGrevey and Charlotte Smith, a silent auction and door prizes.