• 2020 Pat Santucci Award Recipient Announced

    The late Arturo Barajas was named on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, as the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Inc.’s 2020 recipient of the Pat Santucci “Spirit of the Coast” award. The award was presented in front of a crowd of over 600 attendees at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Inc.’s Annual Meeting held at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.

    After a long illness, Barajas passed away on January 19, 2020.  The award was accepted in his memory and honor by his wife Rachel Hancock Barajas.

    “Arturo was 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 gave his heart and soul to make this community a better place. I am so proud that Arturo was selected as the recipient for the Pat Santucci Spirit of the Coast award.”

    Barajas was born in Mexico City and came to the Gulf Coast as an exchange student while attending Pan American University to work at Casino Magic.  Despite not being fluent in English, he worked double shifts in housekeeping, all the while reading and studying hotel administration manuals as well as casino department operations manuals.  Barajas returned to Mexico to graduate with honors.  He returned to the United States and worked in the casino and restaurant business up until Katrina when he lost his job.  This gave Barajas the opportunity to open Mosaic Tapas restaurant in Ocean Springs, which celebrated its 10th anniversary and was named the 2017 Restaurant of the Year.  He was a member of many Chambers including the MS Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce.  He was a graduate of Leadership Gulf Coast, served on the MS Gulf Coast Chamber Board and the Leadership Gulf Coast Board of Trustees.