By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
EASTPORT – The life of a public relations consultant has its moments of glamour.
For the 10 years she helped the Daryl Worley Foundation organize Tennessee River Run events that support charitable organizations in west Tennessee, Northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama, Lee Ann Robertson rubbed shoulders with Worley and many other country music stars.
But the job is much more behind-the-scenes hard work and long hours, said the 50-year-old mother of two adult daughters.
“Those of us who worked for 10 years to raise the money to open the Worley Outpatient Chemotherapy Clinic, once we exceeded our fundraising goal and the clinic opened, we pretty much retired from his committee last year,” Robertson said.
Now she’s in the midst of plans for the second year of a three-year commitment to gather sponsorships for the Battle of Iuka Reenactment, to be held Aug. 30-Sept. 1, in conjunction with the Iuka Heritage Festival.
“I’ve learned a lot of history since I started working with the reenactment, and we’re really excited about having the battle reenactment again this year,” she said.
The Battle of Iuka began Sept. 19, 1862, and last year’s reenactment of the battle was the first in more than 25 years. Organizers deemed it a resounding success, drawing more than 20,000 visitors to Iuka and surrounding areas from across the United States, Australia and New Zealand. After action reports showed the event generated a 21 percent increase in revenues for the weekend, Robertson said.
The Civil War continued two more years after Iuka’s battle, and Civil War Sesquicentennial commemorations will continue in various locations through 2014.
Iuka battle reenactment organizers decided to hold Iuka reenactments through the remainder of the sesquicentennial.
The busy summer festival season also has Robertson racing to keep up with work for other clients that include the Cherokee Tribe of Mississippi, the Professional Network on Aging in Memphis, Tishomingo County Tourism, Tishomingo County Development Foundation and others.
“In the summer I’m covered up completely, and I get some time to rest in January,” she said.
Robertson got her professional start in Memphis, where she worked for many years before moving back home to Iuka. She divides her home life between weekdays at her house near Woodall Mountain with her three canines, and weekends at a cabin at Eastport Lake at a bend of the Tennessee River.
Both of Robertson’s daughters – Destiny Robertson Vick along with her husband Stephen and their three children, and Stephanie Robertson Hensley and her child – live nearby and are registered nurses at Magnolia Regional Health Center in Corinth.
Robertson’s parents are Lee and Ruth Lovelace of Iuka.
“It was a good life in Memphis, but I’m really glad to be back home,” Robertson said.