Miss Mississippi-Mary Margaret Hyer
The Rotary Club of Jackson was pleased to welcome Mary Margaret Hyer, Miss Mississippi, as our speaker today.
 
The invocation was given by Jewell Hillery, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Ted Jackson and the Four-Way Test was led by Janet Scott.
 
Seated at the head table included:  Daniel Barham of Origin Bank, Dean Jim Rosenblatt of MC of Law, Honorable Kenny Griffis, MS Supreme Court Justice and Julian Watson of Prudential, who introduced our speaker.
 
Visiting Rotarians and guests were welcomed by Van Jones.
 
As a reminder, we have begun our Membership Derby.  The contest will conclude in April with celebratory program on April 27th, where the winning team will have steak, while the losing teams will be served hot dogs.  Flyers and information were sent in email on January 13th.
 
Mary Margaret Hyer is from Hattiesburg and won multiple titles before being crowned Miss Mississippi.  Hyer gave an interesting recap of her journey to becoming Miss Mississippi which included a call 48 hours before her first attempt and a borrowed dress.  Upon entering the pageant circuit to vie for Miss Mississippi, Hyer had to chose a platform/social cause on which she would advocate.
 
Hyer credits her mother and grandmother as the inspiration for her choice of organ donation as her social initiative. It's a topic that she will keep front and center during her reign as Miss Mississippi.
In 2012, Hyer's mother, Margaret McCollum Hyer, donated her kidney to her own mother, Bobbie McCollum. Doctors diagnosed Bobbie McCollum with kidney failure two years earlier. McCollum died of cancer in 2014, but with "a perfectly good kidney," Hyer said. 
Since then, Hyer has worked with organ and tissue donation organizations, including MORA, an organ procurement organization based in Flowood. She said her goal is to use the publicity that goes along with being Miss Mississippi to encourage others to become organ donors. 
Hyer said she's proud to represent the state of Mississippi. Although she grew up in Hattiesburg, she decided to follow three generations of family tradition and go to the University of Mississippi, where she graduated in 2018 with a major in English and a minor in vocal performance.
Her next step is to continue her studies by going to law school. She considered going to school out of state, but ultimately felt Mississippi had the most to offer. Miss Hyer fielded questions regarding the pageant changes and organ donation.