This Hall of Fame is a virtual museum celebrating the extraordinary youth, men and women who have made significant contributions to the Boys & Girls Club Movement in Mississippi.
Each has helped raise the standards and level of professionalism in the Boys & Girls Club Movement, while inspiring and mentoring future generations, laying the ground work that encourages us all to strive for excellence in helping children who need us most.
Inductees are announced at a dinner held at the annual TRIAD Area Council meeting in August.
Mission of the Mississippi Boys & Girls Clubs Hall of Fame:
Honors the extraordinary achievements of Club members, board & program volunteers, professional staff, and community leaders - for their significant contributions to the Boys & Girls Club Movement.
Educates target Georgia audiences on the mission, history, foundation of Boys & Girls club work, the youth development process, and the impact of Boys & Girls club on society.
Inspires current and attracts future volunteers, board leaders, professionals, and investors by providing the standards by which great leaders and accomplishments are measured.
2023 Hall of Fame Inductees
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi
Jon Anderson earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina and his master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. Before retirement, Jon was Trust Executive for Trustmark National Bank and was a member of their Management Committee. Jon began his Boys and Girls Clubs board service in 1974 in Columbia, S.C. Jon has been a member of the Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi for 25 years. Currently, he is Chairman of the Governance Committee. He also serves on the National Area Council Committee where he represents Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. He has previously served as Board Chair of Central Mississippi and Columbia, South Carolina Boys and Girls Clubs. He is a constant advocate for Board Training and Development opportunities, Board Giving, and Board Attendance. Jon serves as an Elder in Grace Chapel Presbyterian Church where he sings in their choir. He also sings with The Mississippi Chorus and has served on their board. Jon and his wife, Pat, have two children and 4 grandchildren.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast
Carlos Bell joined the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast in 2011. He was inspired by the Mission and the impact the Clubs were having on the Coast. He has served many roles on the board and most recently served as the board president.
Carlos has an extensive record of service to others including his service in the United States Army where he was deployed to Iraq in 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He developed and maintained working relationships with U.S. and Iraqi contractors. He has also served as Area Coordinator for Mississippi Emergency Management and lead advisor for British Petroleum (BP) where he engaged political, business, and community stakeholders impacted by the Deepwater Horizon incident throughout Mississippi and the Gulf Coast region. He served as the project manager for Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport and led the damage assessment and public assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Zeta in 2021.
With Carlos’ experience and passion for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast and his commitment to service, when given the opportunity to serve as board president in 2018 he knew he was up to the task. With his leadership and his influence in the community, opportunities started opening up for the organization. He initiated discussions with Gulfport officials to open the 19th Street Club in Gulfport and in 2020 the doors opened to serve youth who need the Club the most. He worked with Biloxi officials to secure the property that will be the location of the East Biloxi Club. He brought community members together in Wiggins and Long Beach to start the conversation of opening Club sites in these two communities.
The organization has seen growth under his leadership from a $2.3 million operating budget to an annual budget of $4.5 and under his leadership, the organization was able to obtain property worth $15 million. He worked with the board to develop a strategic plan that has had tremendous growth and impact, from serving 3,500 youth ages 4-18 to over 6,300 youth annually. His most impressive leadership skills were put to the test during COVID. Carlos worked closely with Club leadership to ensure essential workers and their children were served. Club staff opened the doors using all safety protocols for children of essential workers and provided virtual school so they could continue their education. The Clubs provided meals for all children and their families and he led the organization through a very successful virtual fundraiser which helped provide resources to continue the work during the pandemic. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast led the way for others to follow.
Carlos has received awards for his service to the community including MS Gulf Coast top 10 Under 40 in 2015 and the Mississippi Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs Outstanding Achievement: Board Member of the Year award, and was recognized with the Juneteenth Community Leader Award. He was appointed in 2021 by Governor Tate Reeves to the Gulf Coast Restore Act Committee. He also serves on the Memorial Hospital Gulfport board. Carlos still serves on the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast board but passed the gavel in 2022. He still works closely with Club leadership to find ways to support the Mission and do what he does so well, serve.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Kosciusko
Mrs. Maudie Mae McBride Benton was born on June 18, 1933, in Lake, Mississippi to the parents of James and Lela McBride. Maudie McBride was the youngest of nine (9) children. Maudie is a retired Educator and former Oprah Winfrey Boys & Girls Club's ("OWBGC") Interim Chief Executive Officer, Chief Volunteer Officer, and Administrative Assistant. She has always been highly active at the OWBGC, where she is currently President of the Mississippi-Louisiana Area Council.
Maudie spent almost 45 years as an Educator with twenty-two of those years as Principal of the Long Creek Elementary School. She is an active member of the Wesley United Methodist Church, where she has served on many committees, and in many capacities, such as Choir Member and Administrative Board Chair. She also served as the Lay Delegate to the Mississippi United Methodist Annual Conference for five (5) years. In the Starkville District, she has served as the United Methodist Women's
President, and is currently the Spiritual Growth Chairperson of that organization. Maudie also serves on the District Church's Location and Planning Committee. She grew up in the Church, and her life has been between her family, the Church and Education. Maudie received her Bachelor of Science from Rust College, a Master's Degree in Education from Jackson State University, and an Education Specialist's Degree in School Administration from Mississippi State University.
Maudie is a member of the Kosciusko Rotary Club, and regularly enjoys participating in its educational activities. She is a pillar of her community, an incredible person, as well as a model citizen in the Kosciusko -Attala County Community. Maudie's passion is working with children.
Maudie was married to Azzell Benton for 47 years prior to his passing in 2009. They are proud parents of four (4) outstanding children, Cynthia, Shyrell, Antonio, and Angela, all of whom graduated from Kosciusko High School and the University of Mississippi. Of her ten (10) grandchildren, nine have college degrees and the last one is still in public school. Maudie and Azzell also have five great grandchildren.
Quote from Ricky Hood, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of East Mississippi:
“In my 35 years, I have never met a more direct, honest, and committed person.
She has continued to show her commitment to the Boys & Girls Clubs throughout her many years of service.”
Thank you, Mrs. Maudie Benton!
Boys & Girls Clubs of Covington County
In 1996, Barbara pioneered the start-up of the Boys & Girls Club in Covington County. She established the inaugural Board of Directors for the club by inviting community businesses and individuals to its first meeting. She initiated obtaining a tax ID number for the club, establishing 501c3 designation and other necessary procedures. She initiated the opening of the first bank account and followed the municipal guidelines to get the Boys and Girls Club fully functioning in the Covington County area. With much determination, Barbara and other community leaders were able to move forward with the creation of a strong board of directors that got the attention of the Boys & Girls Club of America. In December 1996, the Boys & Girls Club of Covington County was chartered.
After the club was officially launched, Barbara spearheaded the implementation of educational and career readiness opportunities for the youth participants. She further made sure the same concepts were
introduced to the community. Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyle, Good Character and Citizenship have been the pillars upon which 461 Boys & Girls Clubs Alumni have graduated from high school. Additionally, since the beginning of the Boys and Girls Club of Covington County, it has served over 40-50% of students in Covington County and surrounding areas. The Club has Barbara to thank for these numbers!
To date, Barbara continues to serve on the Boys & Girls Club of Covington County Board of Directors as a Community Liaison and Event Fundraiser Chairperson. Due to her commitment to help support the cause of the club, she unremittingly researches and solicits donors to support the club. She also continues to be at the helm of coordinating with the local faith-based organizations, businesses and other professional organizations. Though Barbara holds several roles within the Club’s executive leadership, one can always be assured of where her heart lies for the community and The Club. On any given day, Barbara can be seen at any of the numerous club sites simply volunteering and working with the children, distributing snacks, or even cleaning areas where the children play.
Not only has Barbara been instrumental with the formation of the Boys and Girls Club of Covington County, in 1998, Barbara founded the Better Tomorrow Foundation. The Better Tomorrow Foundation was founded with the purpose of assisting countless homeless individuals and families that were victims of natural disasters. In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Barbara served on the Mississippi Southern First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Pandemic Task Force, which sought to ensure the safety and well being of local citizens. Barbara also continues to serve as the Mississippi Jurisdictional Purity Retreat Planner, which coordinates power packed weekends for teenagers across the state of Mississippi. Included at the retreats are workshops on topics such as abstinence, ACT/SAT, essay writing skills, as well as a formal banquet.
Barbara Gray, is the daughter of the late Mr. Oliver and Mrs. Leverty Cooper of Mt. Olive, MS. She has been married to Deacon Tony Gray, Sr. for over 40 wonderful years. She is a mother and affectionately known as “NeNe” to her awesome grandchildren. As a dedicated member of Friendship Church of God in Christ in Collins, MS, Barbara’s roots remain firmly planted in Covington County. Her dedication is impeccable, and greatly admired by all.
Boys & Girls Clubs of East Mississippi
Born in Montgomery, Alabama, one of sixteen brothers and sisters, Ricky developed a love for the Club at an early age. He was a member of the West End Boys and Girls Club in Montgomery, where Mike Anderson served as a tremendous mentor for him. Ricky graduated from Robert E. Lee High School, obtained a basketball scholarship to Mississippi State University, and later transferred and graduated from Murray State University with a degree in Business Administration.
Upon graduation, Ricky played professional basketball on the international circuit for eight years in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, and Portugal. In 1988, Ricky started working summers at the Boys and Girls Club in Meridian, Mississippi. The reason he has continued working in the Boys and Girls Club for over 30 years is because of his earlier experiences and his deep desire to mentor and help children.
Ricky currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the Boys and Girls Clubs of East Mississippi. This includes six sites in Lauderdale County, Neshoba County, and Attala County. With the help of a dedicated staff of 72, many of whom are former club members, the organization served over 900 children daily at the six sites prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, the Club provided over 2500 meals daily. Virtual learning for students was also provided for several of the communities in East Mississippi during this time. Currently, the Boys and Girls Clubs of East Mississippi provides services daily for over 750 children.
Since serving as Executive Director, Ricky has garnered numerous awards on the local, state, and regional levels. These awards have included: the Southeast Regional Herman S. Prescott Award, the Errol Sewell Award, and most recently, the Lou Dantzler Award. All this recognition is based on leadership, integrity, respect for others, and commitment to excellence. Other awards include: the Mississippi Area Council Professional of the Year, the BGCA Regional BLUE STAR Award, the NAACP Man of the Year Award, and the Meridian Public Schools Parent of the Year Award. He has also received many other awards for his contributions to his community, state, and region.
Ricky is married to Vicky Hood, a retired educator, and they have four children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi
Greg Pirkle has practiced law in Tupelo for 34 years, and is currently a partner in the Tupelo office of the regional law firm, Phelps Dunbar LLP. He received his education from Baylor University, the University of Mississippi, and New York University. He is admitted to practice law in all Mississippi Courts, Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and U.S. Tax Law. He is a member of the Lee County Bar Association, Mississippi Bar Association, and North Mississippi Planned Giving Council.
Greg’s professional and personal involvements in the community and Northeast Mississippi have made him well-known throughout the region, and he is sought out for participation on various committees and boards. One organization that has been fortunate to have his participation and input is Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi, Inc. (BGCNMS). Greg served on the Steering Committee to bring a Club to Tupelo, and in 1996 this feat was accomplished. An inaugural member of the 1996 Board of Directors, Greg has
served in various leadership capacities, including Vice-President of the Administration/Finance Committee from 1996-2002; President 2003-2004, and 2007-2008; and Vice-President of Governance from 2011-2018, overseeing the development of a new Strategic Plan and updates to the By-Laws and policies. His involvement with CREATE, the community foundation, aided the organization in establishing endowment funds, and has since led to BGCNMS receiving its first planned gift. Greg supports BGCNMS annually with personal funds through its Annual Campaign, as well as corporately by giving to celebrity dancers for BGCNMS’s largest fundraiser-Dance Like the Stars. Since 2015, Greg has served as an emcee for BGCNMS’s Dance Like the Stars event. Utilizing his wit and professional curtesy, he has become a crowd favorite.
Mr. Pirkle was appointed to the Mississippi Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs Board of Directors in 2009, and was elected President from 2010-2012. He was reappointed to the Alliance Board in 2022, and continues to serve. His appointments on the Mississippi Alliance Board of Boys & Girls Clubs have allowed him to explicitly explain and expand on the Movement to other BGCNMS Board members. Greg’s commitment and support of BGCNMS is recognized by officials at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and his opinion is sought regarding opportunities and challenges of the organization. Greg’s historical knowledge of Boys & Girls Clubs of North MS makes him an invaluable board member and he is a staunch supporter of the organization throughout the region.
Other organizations have also been fortunate to receive numerous hours of service from Greg, including Rotary Club of Tupelo, CREATE Foundation, Neighborhood Development Corporation, Community Development Foundation, Tupelo Major Thoroughfare Lobbying and Oversight Committee, North Mississippi Health Services, United Way of Northeast MS, Journal, Inc., Tupelo Community Theater, Blue Mountain College, and BNA Bank. Due to his leadership and multi-faceted abilities, Greg has been elected as Chair/President of many of these organizations. He has provided special services as emcee to numerous events including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet, Rotary Scholars Day, CREATE Foundation’s Teachers of Distinction, and Tupelo Ballroom Dancing.
Greg loves family, and adores his two children – Tyler, who is an attorney and works with him at Phelps; and a daughter – Megan, an attorney at Winstead PC in Dallas, TX. His wife, Lisa, is deceased. Greg attends Calvary Baptist Church in Tupelo, where he has served or currently serves as a deacon, trustee, choir member, and on various committees.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast
Sue Reed served as Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast and guided the organization to national prominence during an unimaginable and turbulent time. Before becoming CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast, she crafted her skills under the leadership of the legendary Lee Kerley as the Director of Operations. During those years, she began to see a vision for the youth on the Mississippi Coast. However, she did not know the challenges on the horizon.
Sue became the CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast in 2002 after the untimely passing of Lee Kerley. Sue was determined to continue Lee’s vision and move the organization to greater heights. Then in 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Sue was facing an unprecedented challenge. With staff, Club kids, and their families displaced and property destroyed,
she knew she had a monumental task. In fact, she had been contemplating retirement before Katrina but this changed everything.
Sue immediately went to work to rebuild bigger and better than before Katrina. It was her vision, stubbornness, and pure determination that led to massive capital campaigns that enabled the rebuild. She did not back down and did not settle for anything other than the very best for the youth on the Coast. She advocated on behalf of the youth and their families to make sure they received the very best Clubs despite the opposition in the community. Not only was Sue leading the capital campaign, but she targeted large grants to secure funding for equipment, staff, and programs. Shortly after Katrina, the Sun Herald captured Sue’s will to rebuild when she stated, “We are only going to continue to do more and more. This is so needed because we provide stability for the kids. Our goal is to build back Clubs and provide more services because it is desperately needed for children and their families.” This rebuild included the state-of-the-art Clubs at Forest Heights Center, Qatar Center, and IP Center which opened a few years after Katrina.
While Sue was helping a community heal, she continued to train and mentor her staff and created a succession plan for others to lead the organization. Sue retired as CEO a few years later but left a legacy of her own that many around the country looked up to and will not forget.
Sue has been recognized by her peers at every level of the organization. She served on the President’s Council under Roxanne Spillett. She has received numerous awards including Executive Director of the Year. Sue was instrumental in the launching and development of the Mississippi Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs. Sue also secured the New Hope Program which put trained professionals into the school districts and clubs to work with the most severe emotional, behavioral, and underserved children.
Sue is most deserving of this award. She stared adversity in the face and beat it with her determination, experience, and passion to serve the youth on the Coast. Her influence, tenacity, and love for community still resonate in the Mission and Vision of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast today. Sue is enjoying retirement life in Long Beach, MS.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi
Julius Ridgway was a decades-long friend of the Central MS Clubs. He was an original Boys Club of Jackson member, and a member of the Boys Club Alumni group. In 1966 Julius was recruited by Dean Miller to First National Bank, where he served as Vice President of the Petroleum Department until his departure in 1973, when he struck out on his own as an "independent" in oil and gas exploration, production and investment, a career he enjoyed well into his 80s. During this time his industry memberships, affiliations and leadership positions were too numerous to list, but he was a fierce advocate for the independent oil and gas industry and tirelessly promoted energy exploration in the state of Mississippi throughout his life. Outside of politics, perhaps the civic involvement that he most cherished was his decades of service on the Board of Directors of the Boys Clubs of Mississippi.
Julius Ridgway was a strong supporter of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central MS (BGCCM). He and wife, Mary Jane, generated an annual Christmas letter for at least 6 years that stated that fact. He encouraged his family and friends, in lieu of gifts, to give to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central MS for Christmas. The Christmas letter generated between $45,000-$90,000 in donations for the Clubs each year it was written. BGCCM has “The Julius M Ridgway Committed to Community Service Award” which honors individuals who have made significant contributions to their community through their service and compassion to inspire our youth and help them realize their full potential to become productive, responsible, and caring citizens. This award is given annually and was established in 2016. Mr. Ridgeway passed away peacefully, May 30, 2021, and left BGCCM $100,000 in unrestricted funds in his estate plan.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Jackson County
Dorothy Shaw had been with BGC Jackson County board of directors from 1994 to present. She served on the board in the following positions: Board member, Secretary, President Elect, Board President, and the Chair of the Support Service Committee.
She has attended the following conferences: B&GC National, Board Leadership and Mississippi Area Council/MS Alliance. Mrs. Shaw was instrumental in the Mississippi Area Council Conference as a presenter for a Human Resource workshop. She also served as President on the BGCA-MS Alliance board.
Mrs. Dorothy Shaw is a dedicated, dependable, honest and hardworking individual. She has served on our Board of Directors for twenty-nine (29) years. She has demonstrated her support financially and voluntarily. Mrs. Shaw stress education, respect, and a profound way to better the lives of our youth and their families in Jackson County Mississippi. During Mrs. Shaw’s involvement with the Clubs, she has spearheaded many new developments such as: helping create a new web site for our organization, added an Ad Book to the Steak & Steak Dinner fundraiser, created & promoted a Board Investment Committee. She has also served on the One Campaign and Back-a-Kid fundraising committees. Mrs. Shaw has served as the Steak & Steak Dinner chairperson for two consecutive years. During her time as a board volunteer at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Jackson County she helped raise over $650,000 and has donated over $50,000 of her own funds. Mrs. Shaw believes that every child should be in a safe environment and have the opportunity to develop into a positive productive citizen.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Mississippi
A native and life-long resident of Pike County, Mississippi. Married to Jimmy Webb; have one grown son, Whitney Webb. Began my banking career in 1972 as a teller with First National Bank in McComb; began working as a teller at Bank of McComb (now First Bank) in 1974. Worked in First Bank’s Loan Department, then as a Customer Service Representative. Attended many seminars, workshops and schools related to banking, including, but not limited to, Asset/Liability Management School at LSU, Birmingham Southern Trust School, and annual IRA & Retirement seminars. Obtained Series 7 securities license in 1987.
Currently, Senior Vice President and Trust Officer at First Bank responsible for the Bank’s Investment portfolio and various other duties and responsibilities, including but not limited to, Asset-Liability Management and Funds & Liquidity Management, and Marketing & Public Relations. Member of JVW Holdings, LLC, a family business that owns various properties including McComb’s first digital billboard.
Currently, serving on the Board of Directors of Boys & Girls Club of SW MS, the St. Andrew’s Mission Board and Corporate Sponsor & Ticket Chair of their annual fundraiser, Shuffle to the Chefs’ and as Board Chair of McComb Main Street Association.
Participated in Up-Lift Leadership Development and Training 1992-93 where I met Randy Tate and began serving on the Boys & Girls Clubs of SW MS Board having since served as CVO numerous times. Served as Treasurer of Keep Pike County Beautiful Board (a co-founder of that organization) for over a decade, and Past Chair of SW MS Resource, Conservation &Development council member (a 12 county Rural Development Council), a Past President of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, McComb Lions Club, St. Andrew’s Mission Board, the McComb Main Street Assn., and chaired their Iron Horse Festival for 10 years and Trail of Lights for 5 years. Chaired the committee for Pike County Volunteers for Children & Youth and their Healing Hearts Foundation to build the first home for area abused children. Served on McComb School District Key Communicators Committee.
Selected as the Enterprise-Journal Citizen of the Year in year 2000 for work done with the Boys & Girls Club of SW MS. Selected by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) as one of ten National Recipients in 2010 for Outstanding Service to their organization, and in 2015, received BGCA’s National Service to Youth Award. Selected to represent South MS Boys & Girls Clubs as the Boys & Girls Clubs Area Council and served as State Chair of the MS Council since 2014-16. Member of South Pike School District’s Hall of Fame.