May 16, 2020 9:58:18 PM
Roses and thorns
A rose to Mississippi State University's athletic department for bringing a bona fide coaching legend "back home." MSU Athletics Director John Cohen announced this week that Ron Polk, the Bulldogs' legendary baseball coach for 30 years, had been hired. Polk not only built the school's baseball team into a national power but elevated the profile of college baseball in a way no other coach before or since through his tireless advocacy. With 54 years of coaching behind him, Polk's name is synonymous with college baseball. He has been, and remains, one of the most respected names in college baseball. Although his role remains undefined, there can be little doubt that Polk, 76, will contribute in a meaningful way.
A rose to Col. Samantha Weeks, who will officially retire as wing commander at Columbus Air Force Base on Monday. As her two-year assignment draws to a close, we congratulate Weeks on her leadership in helping CAFB meet its primary mission -- training much-needed pilots for the U.S. Air Force. More than 850 student pilots earned their wings during Weeks' tenure. In addition, Weeks guided the base in meeting a variety of challenges - including an aircraft accident and preparing the base for the challenges presented by COVID-19. Base facilities were improved and, of course, Weeks continued to build on the key relationship between the community and the base. We salute Col. Weeks for her contributions to our nation's defense and our community during this important moment in the history of CAFB.
A rose to International Paper Columbus, which is now accepting applications for its annual International Paper Foundation grant program. IP awarded $70,000 to 25 area educational and nonprofit organizations. The grants may be small in some respects, but by distributing the funds to more than two dozen groups, the money goes a long way and does much good, especially for organizations who face their own funding issues as a result of COVID-19. We congratulate International Paper, not only for continuing to provide jobs and tax revenue for our community, but also for its commitment to being a good corporate neighbor.