HATTIESBURG, Miss. - This week's Kindness in Action highlights Charles Brown a former Hub City Award 2015 recipient. Brown strives to make Hattiesburg a better place each and every day.
Charles' life of dedication to his employer, his country, and his faith have brought a number of organizations to take advantage of his expertise, wisdom, and professional competency.
He served in the United States Army for 11 years and was honorably discharged in 1969 with two Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars and numerous other citations.
In 1994 the mayor and city recognized Brown as the first Veteran of the Year in Hattiesburg.
“To award it to a black man, that was history, and that’s what gets me so humbled about it, because he did not have to do it" said Brown.
After the army Brown worked in numerous boards and organizations to close the social and economic gap of inequality.
He worked with the Mississippi Employment Security Commission for more than 25 years and helped families across the Pine Belt.
Brown said, “That was my role, helping unemployed women to be economically independent from public assistance.”
“I love it, I always enjoy a job and crave helping people" he added. One of his biggest accomplishments was expanding Hattiesburg Tourism. Brown is one of the original members who started the Lake Terrace Convention Center which strives to increase economic development.
“This is my home, certainly, I am concerned about the activity and prosperity of my home, I want Hattiesburg to be all that it can be" he said.
Through the city's efforts and social movements, Hattiesburg has changed over the last several decades and Brown said he is glad to be part of the change.
“I was helped so much as a child." He continued, "I could remember a man catching the bus in my neighborhood, and I would go to this man and say Mr. give me a penny, Mr. give me a nickel and people are so kind to me."
Brown continued,"And I just want to be as a benevolent and giving as people are to me coming up.” Brown said he hopes his life of hard work and dedicated service will help future generations to come.
“I hope the contributions I made, added to make Hattiesburg better, more inclusive of others.”
The following is more on Brown per the Hub City Award Brochure:
Brown served his life-long employer, Mississippi Employment Security Commission, from 1973-2000. During this time, he served in Employment Aid as vocational counselor working with applicants receiving state/public assistance. He also served at the levels of Employment Counselor II, Employment Counselor III and worked in the Veterans Outreach Program. He was recognized as the Mississippi Counselor of the Year in 1990 and received the Mississippi International Association Personnel in Employment Security's Community Service Award 1988 and 1995.
His life of hard work and dedicated service earned Brown a number of honors and awards including: Hattiesburg Veteran of the Year (the first) 1994; Dr. John Hope Franklin Award for Community Service 2012; The Hattiesburg Professional and Business Men’s Club Man of the Year 1978; Jesse L. Brown Elks Lodge Man of the Year 1987; African American Military History Museum Service Award 2000; Jesse L. Brown Community Service Award 2004; and William Carey University Hall of Fame Class 2012.
Brown is a life-long member of True Light Missionary Baptist Church where he has served as deacon (past chair) and trustee, past Sunday school superintendent (25 years) and director of the Youth Department.
Brown's membership on boards and other organizations include: Main Street Policy Board; Hattiesburg Convention Commission; Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County trustee; Hattiesburg Public Schools Biracial Advisory Committee; Hattiesburg Economic Task Force Committee; NAACP Forrest County Chapter Executive Board; Hattiesburg Arts Council; University of Southern Mississippi Partners for the Art; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.; Salvation Army Advisory Council; and R3SM Board of Directors.
Brown has three children: Jermaine Brown, principal at Hattiesburg High School; Jerome Brown, senior vice president at The First, A National Banking Association; and Kevin Husband, retired U.S. Navy, Region 8 home program manager, Davita Healthcare; and seven grandchildren.