The 30th person honored with the Pat Santucci Spirit of the Coast award, like the others before him, has made a difference in South Mississippi.
Gulfport native Wes Fulmer joined the elite list on Tuesday when his name was announced at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce annual meeting at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.
Fulmer is executive vice president and a board member of The Peoples Bank, headquartered in Biloxi. He has worked in banking for 33 years.
The Spirit of the Coast award recognizes an individual who works in Harrison County and made significant contributions in business over the past year.
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“Wes has been such an active member of the community including the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce for many years,” said Adele Lyons, chief executive officer of the Coast Chamber. “He has given his heart and soul to make this community a better place. He is the perfect recipient for the Pat Santucci Spirit of the Coast award.”
A surprised Fulmer said he wasn’t sure he belonged among the distinguished previous winners.
“I’m a behind-the-scenes kind of person,” he said. The award is about the whole Coast, he said, and he believes the winners are those who “try to give an example, be a leader and make things better for everybody.”
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Fulmer was president of the Boys and Girls Club of the Gulf Coast for two terms and has been active in Boy Scouts of America, American Heart Association and Mississippi State University Alumni Association. He also coached youth inline hockey, basketball and soccer.
Spirit of Coast winners
- 2018 Wes Fulmer, The Peoples Bank
- 2017 Jerry Levens of Alexander, Van Loon, Sloan, Levens & Farve, CPA
- 2016 John Hairston, Hancock Holding Co.
- 2015 Linda Watts, Mississippi Power
- 2014 Dorothy Wilson, DWilson & Associates
- 2013 Elizabeth Joachim, Corso’s Inc.
- 2012 John McFarland, Sun Herald
- 2011 Jon Lucas, IP Casino
- 2010 Gerald Blessey, Tradition
- 2009 Duncan McKenzie, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi
- 2008 Ricky Matthews, Sun Herald
- 2007 Anthony Topazi, Mississippi Power
- 2006 Chevis Swetman, The Peoples Bank
- 2005 Janice Young, Sprint
- 2004 Mike Garrett, Mississippi Power
- 2003 Dr. Jim Williams, University of Southern Mississippi — Gulf Coast
- 2002 Tim Hinkley, Isle of Capri Casino Corporate
- 2001 Dwight Evans, Mississippi Power
- 2000 Ron Peresich, Page, Mannino, Peresich & McDermott, PLLC
- 1999 Gene Warr, Warr’s Men’s Wear
- 1998 George Robert Thatcher, Regions Bank
- 1997 Lucimarian Roberts, Genesis Foundation
- 1996 George Schloegel, Hancock Bank
- 1995 Alton Bankston, Bankston’s Paint & Decorating
- 1994 William A. “Bill” Peden, Jefferson Standard
- 1993 C. Bruce Stewart, Biloxi Public Schools
- 1992 Jerry O’Keefe, Bradford O’Keefe Funeral Homes
- 1991 Pat Santucci, South Central Bell
- 1990 Roland Weeks Jr., Gulf Publishing Company
- 1989 Walter Williams, Mississippi Power
Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce