Co-Lin Foundation Hall of Fame inducts eight

Co-Lin Foundation Hall of Fame inducts eight Picture

The Co-Lin Foundation recently inducted eight new members into its Hall of Fame at a banquet held at the Thames Center on the college’s Wesson Campus. Those inducted were Elton Bolin and Rachel Ragus of Baton Rouge, Arthur Leon and Edna Jerlene Boyte of Roxie, Copiah County Medical Center, Insurance and Risk Managers, King’s Daughters Medical Center, Burrell Kyzar of Sumrall, Curtis McMillan of Mendenhall, and Tricia Walker of Cleveland.

Elton Bolin and Rachel Ragus

Rachel Ragus and Elton Bolin of Baton Rouge were recognized for their contributions to the Arthur Boyte, Jr. Family Scholarship. Ragus grew up in Franklin County and is a graduate of Co-Lin Natchez. She received a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix. She has worked for the Baton Rouge Park & Recreation Commission (BREC) for the past 15 years in the finance department. Ragus has one daughter and one grandson. Elton Bolin grew up in Baton Rouge. He is a Vietnam War veteran and has managed his own tile business in Baton Rouge for the past 25 years. He has one son.

Arthur and Edna Boyte

Arthur Leon and Edna Jerlene Boyte of Roxie were honored for their contributions to the Arthur Boyte, Jr. Family Scholarship. Arthur Boyte, Sr., is a 1959 graduate of Co-Lin where he received a degree in Drafting Technology. He worked for International Paper in Natchez for 33 years and served in the Mississippi National Guard for 23 years before his retirement. Edna “Jerlene” Morris Boyte began working on a degree at the Co-Lin Natchez campus in the 70s while working in banking and for the Department of Human Services and completed her associate’s degree in Information Processing in 1989. They owned and operated A&J Burgers in Bude from 1990-1999.

The Boytes had one son, Arthur Jr., who passed away in 1989 just shy of his 21st birthday. Arthur Jr. was a graduate of Franklin County High School where he was on the football and baseball teams. He attended Co-Lin, where he played catcher and pitched for the Wolfpack baseball team. He was a member of the Mississippi National Guard.

Copiah County Medical Center

Copiah County Medical Center (CCMC) was honored for contributions to the Licensed Practical Nursing program through a grant funded by Urban Research Park CDE, LLC and overseen by the Copiah County Public Benefit Corporation (CCPBC) board of directors

CCMC, previously known as Hardy Wilson Memorial Hospital, is Copiah County’s premier health care facility. The new facility opened in February 2017 and houses 25 private, spacious inpatient suites, nine state-of-the-art Emergency Department rooms, as well as modern Radiology, Laboratory and Cardiopulmonary Departments. CCMC is a Critical Access Hospital and is a member of the American Hospital Association and the Mississippi Hospital Association, and is licensed by the Mississippi State Department of Health.

CCMC’s mission is to give the Copiah County community the devotion and support which it has been shown. They are committed to serving as a resource for the community and surrounding areas by providing quality services and compassionate care. CEO Ben Lott accepted the honor on behalf of CCMC.

Insurance and Risk Managers

Insurance and Risk Managers (IRM) has been providing one of the state’s most comprehensive commercial and personal insurance services dating back to 1902. IRM evolved from the merger of two well-established Brookhaven insurance agencies- Underwriters Insurance Agency and Smith Insurance Agency in 1988. Mike Smith, IRM founder and now vice president, envisioned and created a portfolio of insurance agencies with proven records of servicing accounts in a loyal manner through long relationships.

Today, IRM is one of the largest and fastest growing insurance agencies in the state. Mike Smith’s son, Josh, currently serves as president of the organization and oversees the day to day operations. The agency currently has 20 locally-owned branches covering the entire state of Mississippi ranging from Gulfport to Hernando and Natchez to Meridian. IRM employs 15 licensed professionals with 32 total employees. These numbers translate to an excess of 200 years of Property & Casualty insurance experience in Mississippi. Mike and Josh Smith accepted the honor on behalf of IRM.

King’s Daughters Medical Center

King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) of Brookhaven was honored for its contributions to Co-Lin Athletics. KDMC grew from The Willing Hearts Circle, a group organized in Brookhaven in 1894 committed to nursing and visiting the sick while providing food, clothing, and medicine for the needy. In 1914, the Circle opened King's Daughters Hospital, and also operated a nursing school there between 1924 and 1944. In 1964, the hospital moved to its present location on Highway 51 into a building leased from the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors. In 1999, King's Daughters Hospital changed its name to King's Daughters Medical Center to reflect the expansion of services to the community.

Over the past several years King’s Daughters has been continually recognized by numerous rating agencies for their quality and patient care along with their employee satisfaction scores. KDMC is dedicated to providing quality health and wellness in a Christian environment, and is a proud partner with Co-Lin. Accepting the honor for KDMC was CEO Alvin Hoover.

Burrell Kyzar

Burrell Kyzar of Sumrall was honored for his contributions to the Jodie Kyzar Greer George Scholarship, established in memory of his aunt who encouraged him to attend Co-Lin. A native of Lawrence County, he is a 1964 graduate of Co-Lin, and received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from The University of Southern Mississippi. He began his career in 1967 with Blair, Follin, Allen, and Walker, Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee before being drafted into the Army. He returned to work for four years after being discharged from the army before starting his own employee benefit company, Kyzar and Company, P.A., in 1974 in Hattiesburg. He sold the company to BancorpSouth in 2005 and retired in 2007. Kyzar has been married to Gwen R. Kyzar for more than 50 years

Curtis McMillan

Curtis McMillan of Mendenhall was recognized primarily for his contributions to the AJ, Charlene and Susan Mangum Scholarship and the Charlotte Hill Scholarship.

McMillan is a 1960 graduate of Co-Lin where he was a member of the Wolfpack football team. After Co-Lin, McMillan attended Mississippi College and graduated from Delta State University with a bachelor’s degree in education.

He served as an assistant football coach at Co-Lin from 1963-65, and taught and coached at Wesson High School. He is currently the owner of a real estate and appraisal service in Mendenhall. He served eight years as an alderman for Mendenhall, four as mayor pro tem and city judge. He is a former member of the Lions Club and was active in the founding of Simpson County Academy. He is a member of Jackson Board of Realtors and is a past president of the Co-Lin Athletic Alumni Association. He is a member of the Co-Lin Sports Hall of Fame and will be inducted into the Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame next month.

McMillan and his wife, Kay have two children, Margaret Smith and Melinda Thomas, and five grandchildren. They are active in First Baptist Church of Mendenhall where he serves as a deacon.

Tricia Walker

Tricia Walker of Cleveland is being recognized for her gifts to the Foundation, primarily to the Marie Farr Walker scholarship, established in memory of her mother. A native of Fayette, Walker is a 1972 graduate of Co-Lin where she was a member of the student Hall of Fame. She has had a distinguished career as a singer and songwriter, performing at the Grand Ole Opry with Connie Smith and Roy Acuff. Her songs have been recorded by such artists as Faith Hill and Pattie Loveless, and Alison Krauss won a Grammy award with her recording of Walker’s song “Looking Through the Eyes of Love.”

Walker also toured extensively with Shania Twain and Paul Overstreet as a keyboard player and vocalist. Along with Pam Tillis, Karen Staley and Ashley Cleveland, she was a founding member of “Women in the Round,” one of the most celebrated foursomes at Nashville’s prestigious Bluebird Café. She has performed at the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Tin Pan South Songwriting Festival in Nashville.

Walker received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Delta State and a master’s degree in music theory and composition from Mississippi College. She currently serves as director of the Delta Music Institute at Delta State University. She was selected as Co-Lin’s Alumna of the Year in 2007, and has been a frequent performer and speaker at Co-Lin.

The Foundation Hall of Fame includes individuals and businesses who have donated in excess of $10,000 to the efforts of the Foundation. Contributions can be made to Co-Lin Foundation, P.O. Box 649, Wesson, MS 39191, by calling (601) 643-8313, or online at

CUTLINE: The Co-Lin Foundation inducted eight new members into its Hall of Fame at a banquet held March 22 at the Thames Center on the college’s Wesson Campus. Those inducted are pictured from left, Curtis McMillan of Mendenhall, Edna and Arthur Boyte of Roxie, Rachel Ragus and Elton Bolin of Baton Rouge, Insurance and Risk Managers represented by Josh Smith and Mike Smith, King's Daughters Medical Center represented by CEO Alvin Hoover, Burrell Kyzar of Sumrall, Tricia Walker of Cleveland, and Copiah County Medical Center represented by CEO Ben Lott.