BY JACE PONDER
Librarians Sally James and Wendy Allard on Wednesday were named the 2104 Outstanding Citizens of the Year by the Pass Christian Rotary Club and Pass Main Street.
James began working at the library in 1983. When she retired in 2013, Allard became the head librarian.
Rotary President Catherine Myers said the library was instrumental in the community’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
“They created and helped sustain a place that soon after the storm became the epicenter of information for the city,” she said. “This place offered vital communication services, including computers and access to the Internet. And it also, crucially, offered a respite from the storm – books, movies, music – things that could give you a few hours of welcome forgetfulness from the destruction around you.”
James was born and raised in Pass Christian, the oldest of 10 brothers and sisters. She married Wayne James in 1959 and they have three children, Kathy, Anne and Tom.
In addition to library work, James has volunteered with St. Paul Seafood Festival and St. Paul Carnival Association for several decades.
Allard and her husband Rick have been living on the coast since 1985 and became Pass residents in 1986. Rick Allard was the 2013 Outstanding Citizen Award recipient.
They have three children, Annette, Stephen and Thomas.
Wendy Allard has been instrumental in developing a library that serves as a community center too – recruiting instructors for classes in yoga, tai chi, cooking and Spanish.
She is also on the board of the Pass Christian Historical Society and will be serving as program director in 2015. She is an active volunteer with Main Street and supporter of the Pass Christian Theater Project.
“In summary, because of their unparalleled contributions to Pass Christian before, during and after Hurricane Katrina, both through the Pass Christian Library and in their work with so many other organizations, and in recognition of their deep-rooted, whole-hearted and unwavering commitment to and love of Pass Christian, this year’s Rotary Club Outstanding Citizens of the Year are Sally James and Wendy Allard,” Myers said.
The city also announced its employee of the year at the banquet.
Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott presented the award to court clerk Robynn Dedeaux for her work in the court department.
Dedeaux lives in Pass Christian with her two sons. She has worked with the city since 2005.