Biloxi names Keesler master sergeant as Distinguished Volunteer

John Lowe, center, receives his award from Gen. Peterson, left, and Mayor

To see photos from the ceremony, click here.

To see a complete list of the volunteers recognized, click here.

John Lowe, a Keesler master sergeant who volunteers with the DARE program and has helped raise thousands of dollars for local charities, was named the city’s Distinguished Volunteer of the Year Wednesday night.

Mayor A.J. Holloway recognized about 200 volunteers in all during the city’s 20th annual Volunteer Recognition Awards, which were held at the Biloxi Community Center. This year’s ceremony featured an all-American flavor, with free hot dogs, hamburgers and soft drinks, along with a patriotic video, as a salute to the U.S. armed forces.

“This is an occasion for us to honor some of the most important people in Biloxi,” Holloway said. “We’re recognizing the individuals, the organizations and the businesses who volunteer their diverse talents and give up weekends and weeknights to help make this city the great place that it is. We couldn’t do the things we do throughout the year without their support.”

Lowe, who work in Keesler’s family support center, the Biloxi Police Explorer Program, the annual Harley Toys for Tots motorcycle run, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, where he raised $7,500.

Holloway was joined by Gen. Michael Peterson of Keesler in making the presentation to Lowe.

Others receiving special recognition were:

  • Sports Volunteer of the Year: Don Freche, a coach and league officer for Little League and adult softball programs.
  • Arts and History volunteer of the year: August “Augie” Taconi, who operates the Biloxi tour train and volunteers with the Saneger and Main Street boards.
  • Youth Volunteer of the Year: Matt Range, volunteer counselor involved with several fund-raising causes.
  • Youth Volunteer Group of the Year: Biloxi High School Air Force ROTC.
  • Community Volunteer of the Year: Leon Watson, commander of American Legion Post 33.
  • Education Volunteer of the Year: Ruth Hunt, historian for Biloxi Public Schools.
  • Health Volunteer of the Year: Marie Reinhart of the Veterans Administration.
  • Adult Volunteer Groups of the Year: Junior Auxiliary of Biloxi-Ocean Springs and West End Hose Co. No. 3
  • Business Volunteer of the Year: The Bay Press.
  • City employee Volunteer of the Year: Assistant Police Chief Rodney McGilvary, member of the Biloxi Mullet Brigade and supporter of Special Olympics.

The city uses volunteers to help stage many special events and operate sports leagues throughout the year.