Local Volunteer among conservation award winners

The Webster Progress-Times
From Press Reports

The Mississippi Wildlife Federation will present the winners of the 2019 Conservation Achievement Awards at its 60th annual luncheon. The luncheon will be at noon March 19 at the Hilton of Jackson.

The awards are presented to individuals and organizations that have made a significant contribution to conservation in Mississippi over the past year.

The 16th annual Catch-A-Dream Foundation Volunteer of the Year Award will be presented to Bill Reed of Eupora for his relentless efforts and tireless demonstration of the volunteer spirit, and for his impact on the program and upon countless lives.

Catch-A-Dream grants once-in-a-lifetime hunting and fishing experiences to children 18 and younger who have life-threatening illnesses.

Volunteer of the Year Award recipients are recognized 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.

Retired educator, volunteer work William Childs “Bill” Reed is a retired educator. After graduating from Eupora High School, he earned bachelor of science, master of science 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 31 years, he considers his work with young people of Webster County a fulfilling, rewarding and enjoyable career.

Reed now works with his son, William Childs “Willie” Reed Jr., at the family-owned business Wise-Reed Funeral Home.

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

His volunteer work began over 30 years ago with Ducks Unlimited. Given his love for youth and children, the Webster County DU Committee began looking for a more family-centered fund-raising event, and the Catch-A-Dream Foundation caught its attention.

Thirteen years ago the Webster County DU Committee reorganized and charted the Mississippi Sportsmen for Catch-A-Dream specifically to support the Catch-A-Dream Foundation

MSCADF team effort

Mississippi Sportsmen for Catch-A-Dream is a dream come true for Reed and the committee. Under his leadership, they solicited input from local sportsmen to develop a sound and consistent banquet fundraising model.

This has become the single largest event in Webster County annually, and also enjoys tremendous support from Calhoun, Montgomery, Oktibbeha, Choctaw, Grenada and other surrounding counties.

Steadily increasing net proceeds from $20,000 the first year to over $80,000 in recent years required much hard work, and has indeed be an exemplary team effort.

Every member of the committee contributes countless hours annually but, like any great team, there has consistently been a central character providing leadership and guidance – Bill Reed. He is involved in every aspect of the MSCADF machine, and provides the cohesive strength and broad perspective that results in success year after year.

Whenever a question comes up, committee members often quip “Ask Bill!” True to his humble nature, Reed quickly gives credit for their success to committee members and to community support from sponsors, donors and attendees.

Honorees are ‘truly deserving’ “So many time, conservationists go about their work quietly and diligently, never seeking praise nor receiving recognition for their efforts,” said Ashlee Ellis Smith, chief executive officer of MWF.

“These awards are a wonderful way to shine a light on the efforts of the people and groups who do so much for the natural resources of this state. This year’s honorees are truly deserving of these special awards.”

The Conservation Achievement Awards are made possible through sponsorships. To sponsor the event or to buy a table or tickets to attend the luncheon, call 601-605-1790.