"We want to let the businessowners know we appreciate what they do and encourage others to support their efforts," said Sue Marble, president emeritus of the Daughters of Sunset. "We are proud of them for what they contribute to our community."
While honoring all business, such as grocery stores, beauty shops, barber shops, bookkeepers, day care centers, tax specialists and funeral homes as well as the churches, the Daughters of Sunset plan to give special acknowledgement to three businesses. "These businesses have survived for many years and touched many lives," said Marble.
Scheduled to be honored during the banquet which begins 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Sikeston Country Club, Highway 60 East, are Sheila Moore Gillespie, an independent agent for Greyhound; Charles R. Williams Sr., co-owner of Williams-Farr & Purnell Funeral Home; and Mary Bell Jones, owner of the Head Hunter 2 Beauty Salon.
Also the Daughters of Sunset will honor Berneatress Markita Hunt, who was selected as the organization's "Most Outstanding Young Achiever." Guest speaker for the evening is Herman A. Gardner.
As an independent agent for McDonalds/Greyhound located at 153 W. Murray Lane in Sikeston, Gillespie provides tickets for travel and oversees the shipment of freight across the U.S. Seven buses arrive seven days a week at the station.
"I thank God for placing me in a position that I can be of service to Sikeston and the surrounding communities," said Gillespie.
In 1984 a partnership was formed between Hilda Sumlin and Mary Bell Jones to open what is now Head Hunter 2. Later Jones took over as sole proprietor.
Over the past 25 years she has been in business in Sikeston, Jones has seen her business grow and those in the community consider her an asset to the westend and Sikeston, said her nominator. "I owe my success to God and to the many clients who have come from all over the Bootheel area to the beauty salon," said Jones.
Born and raised in Marshall, Williams is a graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago and has been in the funeral service business for over 43 years. He is a licensed funeral director in Missouri and Illinois and a lifetime member of the NAACP, a member of the Harmony Lodge 40 AF&AM Prince Hall of Cape Girardeau and a member of the Mercy Seat Baptist Church in Charleston.
President of Sparks Funeral Home Inc. in Charleston which has been in business since 1947, he is also co-owner of Williams-Farr & Purnell Funeral Home Inc. of Sikeston and Howardville, which was established in 1970 in Howardville and in 1987 in Sikeston. Both businesses pride themselves in offering top quality funeral services and prearrangements and personal service, said Williams.
The 15-year-old daughter of Bernice Williams and Mark Hunt of Sikeston, Hunt was selected for the honor of "Most Outstanding Youth Achiever" based on her "outstanding work in the community and school."
A freshman at Sikeston Junior High School, she is the February Student of the Month, a member of the Student Council and on the Honor Roll. She has taken part in the Accelerated Program since first grade and was a participant in the EAGLE Program from fifth through eighth grades.
She has won awards from the U.S. Achievement Academy, was named an All-American Scholar and received the National Leadership and Service Award, American Character and Citizen Award and the U.S. National Mathematics Award. She participates in basketball, volleyball and Green Peppers at school and is a member and active participant at the Cornerstone Baptist Church.
Gardener, a communications technician with Southwestern Bell for 28 years, is assistant pastor of Travelers Rest Church and vice moderator and dean of the Christian Liberty Association.
A lifetime resident of Sikeston, he attended Lincoln Elementary School through eighth grade and was among the first freshman class at the integrated school on Tanner Street. Following graduation he joined the U.S. Army, serving in Vietnam.
Gardner and his wife, Emma, are the parents of seven sons.
Tickets for the banquet can be purchased from any member of the Daughters of Sunset or will be available at the door on Saturday evening.