The Exchange Club of Grenada named Sergeant James Williams (far right) as Trooper of the Year Thursday. Long time co-worker Captain Rusty Miley (left) and Trooper Keith Conner were among the award ceremony attendees.
Being recognized by one's peers is truly an honor.
For years the Exchange Club of Grenada has awarded a deserving individual as Trooper of the Year. This year Mississippi Highway Patrolman of Troop D nominated Sergeant James Williams.
On hand to speak on behalf of the highway patrol was Holmes County Prosecutor Marc Boutwell.
"It means a whole lot to know that there's an organization, anywhere in our state, that has uses their time year in and year out to support our troopers," said Boutwell. "They need our support. They deserve our support."
Since 1938 it has been the Mississippi Highway Patrol's mission to promote highway safety for the highways of both the state and federal jurisdiction. According to Captain Rusty Miley and long time friend, Williams takes that responsibility very seriously.
"Let me tell you something about James Taylor he is one fine highway patrolman. He's conscientious and when you call him; he's going to be there," said Miley. "It doesn't make any difference of what you ask him to do if its moral and legal; he's going to be there."
Nomination Each year troopers are allowed to nominate a fellow officer, and this year's nomination came from someone that saw Williams as not only a role model, but also as a mentor.
"Keith Conner is one of the youngest troopers we've got. He's the one that nominated James for this award. This young man is looking up to this older man and we don't have that in this state anymore," said Miley. "Because we don't have enough troopers that are old enough to take these young guys under their wings and teach them what they need to do."
A native of Winona, Williams is said to have the characteristics of a strong leader among his fellow troopers. After joining the Mississippi Highway Patrol in 1980, Williams didn't just focus on assigned road duties. It was this level of commitment to the patrol, which placed him in a class by himself.
It is said that on many occasions, he has gone above and beyond the call of duty, which can be evident from the work he put in before and after Hurricane Katrina. During that troubling time Williams said that like so many other troopers; he found out that the true heroes are those who stand behind the patrolman that carries out the duties needed to keep everyone safe.
He acknowledges his wife Rebecca, his sons James Jr. and James Timothy, along with their sister Tammy Jo as those who make him look forward to the end of the day. Williams is also the grandfather of two. He says that receiving the award is a real honor.
"This is a great honor to be recognized as Trooper of the Year of Troop D. I can only hope and pray that I can live up to the expectations of this honor," said Williams. "I want to thank all that had a part in making this trooper's dream come true. Because that is part of the dream of every trooper that puts on this uniform."