Neshoba County Library liaison Rachel McNally, left, works with Dr. Billy Stewart and Kellie Penson of East Central Community College as they categorize books in the Stanley Dearman Memorial Reading Room. East Central staff, students and faculty did special service projects throughout the college district on Friday. The late Dearman published The Neshoba Democrat for 34 years.
Neshoba County Library liaison Rachel McNally, left, works with Dr. Billy Stewart and Kellie Penson of East Central Community College as they categorize books in the Stanley Dearman Memorial Reading Room. East Central staff, students and faculty did special service projects throughout the college district on Friday. The late Dearman published The Neshoba Democrat for 34 years.
East Central Community College Dr. Billy Stewart spent a busy Friday afternoon in the Neshoba County Library, working to categorize books from a special collection.

No, Dr. Stewart was not moonlighting. He has plenty to do as ECCC president, a job he has held for seven years. Dr. Stewart and around 100 of ECCC’s students, staff and faculty were giving their time across the junior college’s district through community service projects.

“This is something I have wanted to do for a while,” Stewart said. “Our goal is to make this an annual thing.

“One of the things we adopted as part of our Strategic Plan was community partnerships. We basically said we were going to make a commitment to our communities that support us. One of the ways, a small way, is to try come into the community and do some service projects. We call it ECCC -  East Central Cares about our Communities.

“We have a lot of people,” Dr. Stewart said. “This could grow to where we would have 500 to 600 people working on projects.”

The ECCC district is made up of five counties: Neshoba, Newton, Scott, Leake and Winston. Dr. Stewart said there were at least two groups working in each county.



In Neshoba County, Dr. Stewart and Kellie Penson worked in the Stanley Dearman Memorial Reading Room, cataloguing books. Mr. Dearman was the editor and publisher of The Neshoba Democrat from 1966 until 2000. His collection of books was donated to the library after he died in 2017.

Another group from East Central did cleanup work and painting at Northside Park.

“We got a chance to help with Mr. Dearman’s collection; what an honor it is for me to be able to do that,” Dr. Stewart said. “If there is one thing we want at ECCC is for folks to take their eyes off themselves and see that it is about other people. We are grateful for the support our counties give us. This is a small way to give back.”