Hattiesburg, MS, 10/3/16— Mr. Richard Potin, of Hattiesburg, has been selected as Junior Auxiliary's 2016 Humanitarian of the Year. The Humanitarian of the Year Award is given annually to a person in our area who has given his or her time, talents and efforts in order to better the community and its citizens.
"Richard's work impacts the lives of countless women and children in the Pinebelt. While it may not seem like much, receiving couches, chairs, or a kitchen table can help families recovering from a traumatic life event feel more stable. Richard has a genuine passion to help the needy and is extremely devoted to his work," said Steve Ramp, pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
In 2006, a group of individuals at Westminster Presbyterian Church recognized the need in the Hattiesburg community for a service that collected and distributed used furniture to families in need. A key member of this group was Richard Potin and after volunteering his time with the Westminster Furniture Ministry for two years, he assumed the role of coordinator. From contacting businesses and individuals wanting to donate to collecting, to delivering and setting up furniture for those in need, there is no aspect of the ministry that he does not have a hand in.
The furniture ministry helps more than 300 households each year as people are coming out of domestic abuse, prison, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, homelessness and instances of natural disaster. While there have been challenges in building relationships with people in the public sector who are in a position to give discarded furniture away, Richard has worked tirelessly to develop a network of donors who count on him to relieve them of their furniture and place it in a deserving home.
Under his watch, the ministry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last eight years. He has nurtured and expanded the furniture ministry enormously and regularly deals with governmental agencies, community non-profits and churches to keep the ministry alive. Richard's passion for people and genuine desire to show compassion and love to those hurting in our area are what led to his selection as Junior Auxiliary's Humanitarian of the Year.
Richard will receive a $500 donation to be given to the 501(c)(3) organization of his choice. In addition, a $500 scholarship will be awarded in the recipient's name to a deserving area high school senior. Former Humanitarian of the Year recipients includes Iva Brown, Dr, Richard Conville, Father Tommy Conway, Mr. Jack Kennedy, Rev. Henry Craft, Dr. Etoile Dubard, Dr. D. B. Conerly, Rev. Bill Prout, Mr. Joey Pace and Mr. Russ Hendley.
Richard will be acknowledged formally while serving as our guest at the annual Junior Auxiliary Charity Ball, which will be held on November 12, 2016, at the Lake Terrace Convention Center.
For more information about Junior Auxiliary of Hattiesburg, visit hattiesburgjuniorauxiliary.org.