TUPELO – For more than 60 years, Tupelo and Lee County have been led by those who have put the community ahead of themselves, and it is that attitude which will carry it for another 60 years and beyond.
That was the central theme Thursday night at the Tupelo Furniture Market, where some 800 people marked the past and looked to the future at the Community Development Foundation’s 60th annual banquet.
“Over the past 60 years, CDF has succeeded and reinvented itself many times to meet ever-changing economic and community challenges, but our primary purpose has not changed – to generate more and better jobs for our area,” said outgoing CDF Chairman Mitch Waycaster.
Chris Rogers begins his one-year term as chairman today.
Rogers’ father-in-law, Jim Ingram, held the post from 1996-1997.
“He not only taught me about service to God and community, but showed me the value of giving back,” Rogers said.
More than two dozen past chairmen were recognized for their work through the years.
Said Harry Martin, CDF president emeritus from 1956-2001: “There’s been a strong sense of leadership from day one, and that continues today.”
Proof of that came when Rogers announced that the CDF had been named as one of the top 10 economic development groups in the U.S. for 2008 by Site Selection magazine.
CDF President and CEO David Rumbarger said the recognition in the midst of a recession is good news.
“And we have 17 projects that were talking about, including six looking for capital,” he said. “During these time, I think we’ll see more entrepreneurial projects like these.”
Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal