April 10, 2010 11:37:00 PM
At its 60th annual Charity Ball Saturday, Junior Auxiliary of Columbus announced the 2010 Ball King and Queen and celebrated community service.
In a presentation at Trotter Convention Center, Queen Jennifer Rose Adams and King Eugene Beard “Gene” Imes were introduced to the capacity audience, along with a court of 21 high school seniors who have performed more than 2,000 hours of service in their community, churches and schools.
Junior Auxiliary’s year-round service projects impact children throughout Lowndes County. Funds raised through the Report to the Community and the Charity Ball help annually clothe several hundred school children, fund scholarships, character-building service projects and school speakers, a disability awareness and education program, a child abuse education and prevention program, a reality fair for rising high school seniors and ongoing mentoring programs such as Junior Auxiliary Mentors and Girls Empowered to Model Success.
About the king
King Eugene Beard “Gene” Imes was born in Columbus to Nancy McClanahan Imes and the late Vinton Birney Imes Jr., who served as king of the annual pilgrimage pageant and ball in 1958. Imes’ mother is a life member of Junior Auxiliary of Columbus.
Imes is married to the former Leigh Greene of Starkville, also a life member of JA. They have one daughter, Megil Ashley Imes.
The Charity Ball honoree attended the former Demonstration School, where he played pee wee football and later continued the tradition by coaching pee wee football for five years. He also attended Joe Cook Junior High, where he played quarterback, S.D. Lee High School and Heritage Academy.
In 1981, Imes earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in general liberal arts from Mississippi State University.
After obtaining a private pilot’s license at age 18, he was active in business aviation and later added an Airline Transport Pilot rating to his license.
A member of the Mississippi Air National Guard, Imes was selected to attend Air Force Pilot Training and went to the Air National Guard Academy of Military Science at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Tennessee. There he earned an officer’s commission as a second lieutenant. At Reese Air Force Base, he trained in the T-37 Tweet and T-38 Talon, and earned a Distinguished Graduate certificate, in the top 10 percent of class 83-02 in 1983.
Imes also received training at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas, where he flew the McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom, affectionately known as the “Rhino,” Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Wash., and the Kev Field Mississippi Air National Guard Base in Meridian. After being released from active duty, he was qualified as an RF-4C pilot in the 186th Tactical Reconnaissance Group.
While in the Guard, Imes flew more than 1,000 hours in the “Rhino.” He volunteered to fly in Desert Storm, but was not called. While in the 186th, he contributed to his unit’s Outstanding Unit citation.
After returning to Columbus, Imes worked in the family business, WCBI-TV. He later started EBI Comm, introducing dial-up Internet service in the city. He later expanded to provide dial-up and high speed Internet access to larger areas of the state. During the same period, he started Advanced Computers, a computer sales and service business.
Imes and his wife became interested in preservation of older homes and furnishings and purchased Rosedale, built in 1856. They restored the home to its original finishes and have opened it for Pilgrimage for the past 12 years. The couple are serious collectors of John Henry Belter furniture, made in the 1850s.
The Charity Ball king served as president of the Columbus Historic Foundation, then the sponsor of the Columbus Pilgrimage, for eight years.
In a desire to share the city’s heritage of antebellum architecture, Imes published “Reflections: Homes and History of Columbus, Mississippi,” with all proceeds benefiting the Foundation.
Imes and his family strongly support the annual Decorative Arts and Preservation Forum and Antiques Show, an important element of tourism and economic growth for Columbus. He sponsored the Martele Silver Exhibit in 2007 and a reception honoring Mississippi Department of Archives and History directors. He received a Special Recognition Award from the Mississippi Humanities Council for his efforts toward historic preservation.
Imes currently serves on the board of directors for the Academia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy, which offers a study-abroad program accredited through Mississippi University for Women.
0He has provided scholarships for several MUW students to attend.
He is also a board member of the Foundation for Mississippi History and has served on the board of directors of the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau and a group for the preservation of the Columbus Depot.
Focus on children
With a strong interest in the well-being of children, Imes has sponsored and housed an international Mississippi State University student, and a Honduran child through The Compassion Organization. He also supports the Suzuki Orchestra and Palmer Home for Children. Imes has also sponsored a cabin for inner city children at Kanakuk Kamp, a Christian sports camp in Missouri, and has given lectures on local antebellum architecture to schoolchildren.
Community efforts supported have also included Columbus’ Fourth of July celebration, the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society and Christians at Work.
In keeping with his background in military aviation, Imes has worked diligently to help keep Columbus Air Force Base safe from closure. He has also been a member of the Air Education and Training Command Commanders Group, sponsored a pilot training class and generously opened his home for CAFB functions.
Recognizing the importance of attracting industries to ensure economic growth, the Imeses have hosted receptions honoring Eurocopter dignitaries from Europe and the United States, as well as sharing Rosedale with numerous other organizations.
The Charity Ball king and his family have been longtime supporters of the Columbus Junior Auxiliary and its service projects for the children of Lowndes County.
About the queen
Jennifer Rose Adams of Columbus is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Boyce Elkin Adams Sr. She is the granddaughter of Mr. James D. High Sr., the late Mrs. James D. “Rose” High, Mrs. Mary Lou Adams, and the late Mr. Walter Murray Adams.
A 2006 graduate of Heritage Academy, she was salutatorian, a member of the Hall of Fame, and was named the Columbus-Lowndes Link Outstanding Senior of the Year.
The Academy Honors student also received the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award, Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society’s Proficiency in American History Award, President’s Award, and the Columbus-Lowndes Link Highest GPA Award, among numerous other honors.
Her peers elected the varsity soccer and basketball player Most Talented, Most Likely to Succeed, Most School Spirit, Student Government Association Homecoming Maid, and Miss Congeniality in the Beauty Review.
She served in the Student Government Association as director of student activities and held leadership positions and membership in National Honor Society, the International Thespian Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Quill and Scroll, Mu Alpha Theta, Bible Club and Students Against Destructive Decisions, among others.
Adams was also editor of the 2006 Heritage Academy yearbook. She participated in the Lowndes Young Leaders program, was an award winner in the 2005 Lowndes County Junior Miss program and served in the 2006 JA Pilgrimage Ball court.
As a high school student, Adams volunteered with projects including the Salvation Army Christmas Angel Drive, Kids with Character camps, YMCA drama team, Mark Mitchell Center for Children,