John Shows, associate vice president of Community Campus and Career-Technical Education at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, was named the 2015 Innovator of the Year by the Rural Community College Alliance. Shows was recognized for exemplifying service, ideas and commitment in rural higher education.

Dr. Steven Demetropoulos, emergency medical director for Singing River Health System, received Mississippi State Medical Association's Excellence in Wellness Promotion Award for 2015. Demetropoulos was recognized for promoting public health and wellness through his efforts to deter tobacco use and protect against the dangers of second-hand smoke by advocating a statewide smoking ban.

Christen Duhé, director of the Business Development and Hospitality Resort Management Center at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's Jefferson Davis campus, received the Award for Excellence by the Southern Public Relations Federation. Duhé was recognized for outstanding work in public relations through her 2014 Holiday Hobnob campaign.

Ayman Abu-Fakher joined Stone County Hospital as its chief nursing officer. Abu-Fakher brings 20 years of experience in the health care industry to the position, and he earned his master's degree in executive nursing administration and a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of South Alabama.

Joan Strayham, chief executive officer of Stone County Hospital, was announced as the chairperson for the American Heart Association's 2016 Gulf Coast Go Red for Women campaign. The campaign creates a supportive, informative and social atmosphere that encourages influential women and men of South Mississippi to become advocates of heart and stroke prevention.

Wesley Ehlert, Jonathan Linton and James Yates, firefighters with the Gautier Fire Department, graduated from the National Fire Protection Association 1001 Firefighter I-II course at the Mississippi State Fire Academy. The seven-week course includes classroom and hands-on instruction in fire behavior, fire suppression, rescue and other fire-related topics.

Cynthia Morgan of Lucedale was named the new branch manager for the Lucedale/George County Public Library. Morgan received her master's degree in library and information science from the University of Southern Mississippi, and she has been with the Jackson-George Regional Library System since September 2002.

Dr. James Randolph, a veterinarian in small animal medicine, surgery and dentistry at Animal General Hospital in Long Beach, attended the Louisiana Academy of Veterinary Practice's "Toxicology, Emergency Medicine and Infectious Diseases" seminar. Randolph is also a member of the Academy's board of directors.