Chamber president makes history - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Chamber president makes history

Keith Hawkins Keith Hawkins

By Chip Washington - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

HERNANDO, MS (WMC-TV) - The new President of the Hernando Chamber of Commerce is making history as the first African American ever to serve in the position.

Keith Hawkins is a career military man, having served over 21 years in the Army. Since his retirement in 2003, the Hernando native has immersed himself back into the city he loves.

"When I initially retired from the military in 2003, and had a business in Hernando, I knew the first thing I needed to do was get involved in the community," he said.

Hawkins first joined the Hernando Chamber as an ambassador, and moved his way up the ladder to become Main Street Chamber president. He assumed the post earlier this year, saying it's all about leading by example.

"I learned in the military that once you get a person to buy-in and feel like they have some responsibility and a part of what's going on, they'll go all out for you and do all they need to," he said.

One of his first major decisions was to hire a new Executive Director, Angie Hick.  Hick has been on board for about a month, and says that while the lagging economy does effect business, their job is to help the community work together.

"I think its an exciting time for the community to come together and work together to help each other build our businesses and our community programs, and a good time to move forward," she said.

Hawkins has one main goal for the future of his home city:

"When we talk about Hernando, one of our themes we always say: We want to make Hernando a destination spot," he said.

The Chamber as also created a new monthly magazine, which they say will be distributed to area businesses, visitor centers, and rest stops throughout the region.

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