Dick Wilson was honored Tuesday, February 26, 2019, as the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Inc.’s 2019 recipient of the Pat Santucci “Spirit of the Coast” award. The award was presented in front of a crowd of over 500 attendees at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Inc.’s Annual Meeting held at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.

    “Dick has been such an active member of the community including the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce for many years,” said Adele Lyons, Chief Executive Officer of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Inc. “He has given his heart and soul to make this community a better place. He is the perfect recipient for the Pat Santucci Spirit of the Coast award.”

    Col. Dick E. Wilson, USAF (Ret) attended Indiana University and participated in Air Force ROTC.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and was commissioned a 2d lieutenant.  Over the years in the military, Dick was stationed at bases all over the world including Langley, Area 15, Okinawa, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam to name a few serving as a pilot and instructor.  He rose through the ranks to become a lieutenant colonel in June 1973 and he was stationed at Keesler AFB retiring in 1976. 

    Dick's military awards include: Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Award, Air Medal, Air Force Unit Citation, AF Commendation Award, and Vietnam Service Award. Upon retirement from the Air Force, Dick worked at several jobs including the owner of Wilson Fishing Camp on Biloxi’s Back Bay.  In May 1988, Dick was hired as the superintendent of cultural affairs for the City of Biloxi and was promoted to head up the new human resources department. Dick retired from the city in July 1995 and opened a new business in Gulfport, Mississippi with his wife and son, Marty, called Art-FX Studio/gallery.

    Since retirement from the City, Dick has been extremely active in the coast community. He served as the president of the board for the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Dick has served on the Board for the Annual Veterans Parade and was President of the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce in 1995. Dick has been a longtime volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club of the Gulf Coast, the Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, Joppa Shrine Temple to name just a few. 

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