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The Ellis Club Winter Gala

On March 2, 2024, we were honored to host our annual Ellis Club Winter Gala event at Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg, MS. This is an event that our members, as well as those that support us, look forward to year after year. While it takes all hands on deck to execute from beginning to end, it is our largest (and most fun) fundraiser. Without our annual gala, we would not be able to serve our city, our schools, and other organizations the way we have been able to in years past. We are so incredibly grateful for each and every individual, business, family, and loved ones that helped make this event possible. For those that showed up, leant a helping hand, donated items, time, and so much more; thank you for making this, without a doubt, the very best gala our club has ever had.

Each year our club likes to recognize an outstanding citizen, as well as a club member, that we believe truly shines his or her light in our community. One that works diligently, and not for show, because they genuinely care about the betterment of our community, and they have a desire to see it grow and prosper.

This year’s Exemplary Service award went to Mr. Mike Manning! Manning is the husband of current Lifetime Member, Donna Manning, and he has been our handy man, prayer warrior, and a pillar of light to us since the very beginning. We are so thankful for what he has continued to do for our club, as well as our town. He is a jack of all trades, and one man we are fortunate to have within our Ellis family!

This year’s Ellis award, which is also voted upon by our members, went to a lady that exudes a passion for service and wanting to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community. We are so proud of Brooke Herrington! In her three years as a member, she has served as our Farmers Market Chair, board member for two years, and currently holds the position as our Provisional Chair. She works diligently to meet the needs of our club, while supporting each and everything we do throughout the community. We are honored to be able to serve with Brooke, and we congratulate her on her award!


This year we also added a new award, “The Light Award.” This award was prayed over, established, and elected by the current President, Ashli Hernandez. This is an award that seeks out the member(s) that are being the light in so many different ways, are humble, and doing so many GOOD things that people may be completely unaware of. They are serving in their homes, their jobs, their churches, the club, and within so many other capacities!

This year’s recipients were chosen because of their selflessness, their drive to be the light and lift others up, and their unwavering service to our club. We congratulate Ms. Calista Walters and Mrs. Savannah Walters! Well done, ladies! We are so thankful for your commitment to our club through serving on multiple committees, volunteering your time, and so much more. You are both jewels, and two women that we could not be more proud to call our Ellis sisters!

All four awards were given by our incredible Vice President, Brittany Adams. Our drawdown winners for this year’s gala was Mr. Richard Hill and wife Robin Hill, with HillTop GPS. They have been so supportive of our club, and we were thrilled to celebrate their win! Thank you to everyone who purchased a drawdown ticket!

We would like to extend a large thank you to our local sponsors that made this event possible! Your continued support and donations are what allow us to give back and make a difference. No matter the level, we are forever indebted to your kindness!

We would also like to say thank you to a few very important people and groups:

Lake Terrace Convention Center

Caroline Mumme, Event Coordinator

Bruce Smith (emcee)

Mr. Eddie Pope (pianist)

Keys vs Strings (band)

Jana Cooley Photography

Social Sets (backdrops)

Pretty Pops, LLC (balloons)

Beau & Oak

Buff City Soap - Laurel, MS

While our gala was made possible by so many people, we cannot forget the one that was the backbone of it all. The very one that saw the vision, planned the tiniest of details, prayed fervently over and for the event, and executed it to its fullest potential. It was none other than our very own, Mrs. LeAnn Evans! She accepted this position last year, and quite literally hit the ground running. She continually poured everything she had into making sure it would be a success, as well as an event that truly allowed us the opportunity to continue our service throughout the community.

We are so proud of how well she led her committee and how well she represented our club! Thank you for all of your hard work, LeAnn!!

When we asked her to share her thoughts on this year’s event, she stated,

“Chairing our Ellis Gala this year was one of the most challenging yet rewarding undertakings I have ever experienced. Looking back at March 2 feels like a DREAM... And months later, my heart is still overwhelmed at the response from the best patrons ever-rallying around our club with your continued support, allowing us to channel funds back into the community we all love so dearly. Without you, our amazing sponsors, and friends of Ellis, none of this would be possible. I stand in awe and can't wait to do it again next year!”

Please join us in honoring our 2023 award winners!

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