People familiar with Pat Wylie’s community service efforts say they don’t know how they’d make it without him. Wylie, who has a passion for economic development and dedication for service projects, was Biloxi Main Street Association’s 2013 Volunteer of the Year.
“Pat is a fabulous volunteer,” says Kay Miller-Carter, executive director of the Biloxi Main Street Association. “He is always there when we need him. He wants to see things happen and will do whatever he can to promote progress.”
Wylie, a 28-year Mississippi Power employee who currently serves as Commercial Development representative, says he was surprised and honored by Biloxi Main Street’s recognition. He says that volunteerism is simply in his DNA.
“My interest in civic and community affairs probably stems from growing up in the shadow of a father who was always very active in the communities we lived in. He simply found ways to make things happen,” says Wylie. And his father never hesitated to recruit his son for help. When his father was a Chamber of Commerce executive in Biloxi in the ‘70s, says Wylie: “I can remember spending Sunday afternoons collating papers to distribute in chamber buildings. Those are fond memories.”
These days, Wylie still rolls up his sleeves to help however he’s needed.
He chaired this year’s fundraiser for the Alabama/Mississippi chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This was the first year for the event to be held in Mississippi, and the effort was a huge success, raising nearly $40,000 in a single night.
Rodger Meinzinger, who has worked with Wylie for years at Mississippi Power, attributes the event’s success to Wylie’s and his team’s strong efforts and Wylie’s ability to communicate so genuinely what the MS Society does for those with the disease. And that is the goal, says Wylie (who was diagnosed with the disease several years ago) – to raise awareness of what the society does.
Wylie also is chairman of the economic restructuring committee for the Biloxi Main Street Association. It is a position his fellow board members say is a perfect fit for him.
“Electing Pat to this position was one of the easiest decisions because of the passion he has for economic development and the will he has to get things done and see a project through from beginning to end,” says Nikki Johns, assistant vice president of community development for Community Bank and former Biloxi Main Street president.
The position is important to Wylie because he sees an opportunity for Biloxi to continue positive growth, particularly with a new minor league ballpark poised to be built, and he says he will be honored to be a part of that growth.
And though he is involved in many efforts affecting Biloxi directly, Wylie “has a love and understanding of the entire Mississippi Coast,” Meinzinger points out.
Perhaps the most honorable of Wylie’s traits, adds Meinzinger, is that “he doesn’t need to have the light shining on himself. He does what he does because he is genuinely passionate about giving back to the community.”
Wylie credits Mississippi Power with giving him the opportunity to give back. Through the company’s Community Connection, he has been active with many organizations including The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast, the American Red Cross and United Way as well as many other civic and community groups.
For Wylie, the reward for all his hard work is simple and selfless: “It may sound cliché, but I just hope to leave a legacy of service.”