Volunteer of the Year – Bill Reed

For the most significant demonstration nationally of commitment to “the Vision” of the Catch-A-Dream Foundation through contribution of time, energy and talents toward fulfilling and perpetuating the mission of the Program.

2019 Recipient: Bill Reed of Eupora, MS 1947-2020

We normally present our national Volunteer of the Year award in the early Spring at the annual Mississippi Conservation Achievement Awards banquet conducted in Jackson, MS by the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, and typically make this post soon thereafter. Regrettably, the 2020 Banquet, scheduled for March 19, was postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and has not yet been re-scheduled.  Fortunately, we had the privilege back in January of personally revealing the recognition to the 2019 Volunteer of the Year during a visit he made to our office accompanied by his wife and son.  We celebrated in anticipation of the March banquet date where he would be formally recognized publicly and presented with a very special recognition piece. We snapped a photo of him holding the plaque that hangs just inside our front door upon which his name would soon be inscribed alongside all previous winners. We were oblivious to what lay ahead and, like everyone else, we were blindsided by the coronavirus outbreak that would change all our schedules for months. Last week, just as we were beginning to see what we hope is the “light at the end of the tunnel,” we were blindsided again – this time by the news that our friend Bill Reed had succumbed to an apparent heart attack in his beloved garden. How thankful we are that we had that special time in our office with Bill, his wife Gail, and their son Willie back in January. Eventually, as wisdom and social restrictions allow, the Awards Banquet will be held, and we will share a very special time with his family. His award piece will be presented to his family, and we will have the honor of making our first posthumous presentation of the highest honor Catch-A-Dream can bestow.

After graduating from Eupora High School, William Childs “Bill” Reed earned BS, MS and Specialist degrees at Mississippi State University. He and his wife, Gail Gibson Reed, began teaching in the Webster County School System in 1972. Retiring after thirty-one years, he considers his time as an educator a fulfilling, rewarding, and enjoyable career. Bill currently works with his son, William Childs Reed, Jr., in a family owned business.

A lifelong member of Eupora First United Methodist Church, he has served in numerous leadership capacities, and is presently Sunday School Superintendent and co-chairman of the Administrative Council.

Bill’s volunteer work began over thirty years ago with Ducks Unlimited. When he and the Webster County DU Committee began looking for a family-centered fund-raising event, Catch­-A-Dream caught their attention. Thirteen years ago they reorganized and chartered the Mississippi Sportsmen for Catch-A-Dream Foundation (MSCADF) specifically to support Catch-A-Dream.

With input from local sportsmen, Bill and the Committee developed a sustainable banquet fund raising model. Now the largest event in Webster County, the banquet also enjoys support from all the surrounding counties.  Steadily increasing net proceeds from $20,000 the first year to over $80,000 in recent years required hard work and dedication, and has been an exemplary team effort. Every Committee member contributes countless hours but, like any great team, there is a consistent, central character providing leadership and guidance – Bill Reed. Involved in every aspect of the MSCADF machine, he provides the cohesive strength and broad perspective needed for yearly success. 

For his relentless efforts and tireless demonstration of the volunteer spirit, and for his impact on the Program and upon countless lives, we proudly make this posthumous presentation of the 16th annual Catch-A-Dream Foundation Volunteer of the Year Award to Bill Reed.