By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The BancorpSouth Conference Center was filled with “Mr. Americas” on Thursday.
Past and present Boy Scouts, as well as their families, gathered to honor Sam Haskell at the Yocona Area Council’s 2011 Distinguished Citizen Dinner.
An Amory native who earned his Eagle Scout at age 13, Haskell is chairman of the Miss America Organization.
Reigning Miss America Teresa Scanlan accompanied Haskell and his wife, Mary Donnelly Haskell, to the dinner. She said Haskell “has a heart and a passion for helping other people.”
Scanlan also said people regularly ask her about Mr. America.
“Every Eagle Scout,” she said, “you are Mr. Americas.”
That earned a round of applause from about 400 people who turned out to show their appreciation for Haskell, and to raise money for the Yocona Area Council.
Randy Long, council president, read a long list of Haskell’s accomplishments. A former worldwide head of television for William Morris Agency, Haskell served as executive producer of the “Mississippi Rising” concert that raised more than $30 million for Hurricane Katrina victims.
All of Haskell’s proceeds from his book, “Promises I Made My Mother,” have gone to charities, universities and nonprofit organizations.
“He inspires all of us to reach higher, but hold fast to our values,” Long said.
Haskell created the Mary Kirkpatrick Haskell Scholarship Foundation to help Mississippi students. The foundation was named after Haskell’s mother, who was uppermost on his mind during the ceremony.
“I think back on my life and I know one of the great activities of my young life was being a Scout. I started as a Cub Scout and worked my way to Eagle. My mother was there all the way,” he said, then added later, “I wish she were here tonight. She would be very, very happy.”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.