by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner – thegazebogazette@gmail.com

Long time local business owner, Jeffrey Taylor, was named 2022 Pass Christian Outstanding Citizen of the Year on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at the Pass Christian Yacht Club. Taylor has spent countless hours in service to his community and its residents, often with no recognition or publicity.

The Taylor Made Lawn Care business owner has been known to share his time and treasure with citizens in need and to identify, act on or bring problems to the atten- tion of folks that can help, again, with little fanfare.

Taylor has served twice as president of the Rotary Club of Pass Christian, as president of the Pass Chamber of Commerce and has served on several boards and committees for the City of Pass Christian over the years.

While rotary president he successfully located, fundraised and helped with the implementation of the first Rachel’s challenge, a national anti-bullying campaign that was presented to Pass High students.

In his second term as Rotary President, following an uptick in teen suicides, he again championed the return of Rachel’s challenge which has been updated to include an anti-suicide component. This program was delivered to both Pass High and Pass Middle School students in the fall of 2022.

In both instances, he was not only a driving force behind the effort but also a was a major financial contributor.

The Pass Christian Rotary Club received and coordinated millions of dollars of donations from charities and rotary clubs from around the globe for the rebuilding of our town and our lives after Katrina.

From that experience, this club has made it a priority to send funds to assist in disaster relief, particularly in the southeastern states and he is the guy that we look to locate areas, like Pass Christian, that might not be in the national spotlight so that we can send some help directly to Rotary clubs in that area.

For many years Taylor maintained, stored, and piloted Santa’s sleigh in the annual Christmas in the Pass event and his entire family have been very active over the years in Carnival, still maintaining their Family Float in the Pass Parade when few of those family float traditions remain.

Not long after this award was established, before he was born, his Taylor’s father received this recognition. Additionally, his grandmother received the award proving his family’s devotion to Pass Christian.

Dorothy Stewart was named 2022-23 Teacher of the Year for the Pass Christian School District during the event. Stewart has taught English in the high school for 28 years overall and 19 years at Pass High where  Stewart earned the Milken Educator Award, but plans to retire at the end of the school year after nearly three decades.

“We appreciate Mrs. Stewart for her commitment and dedication to the boys and girls of the Pass Christian School District,” said Pass Christian School District Superintendent Dr. Carla Evers. “She has been a cornerstone in our high school and has contributed to our district’s success.”

For the City Employee of the Year, Jennifer Lizana was named the recipient. Jennifer started working for the City of Pass Christian in 2013. She initially started working at the Harbor where she corrected billing, computerized pier check sheets and implemented automated text notification to boat owners.

In 2019 she also became the Manager of the Water Department where she has been responsible for implementing efficiencies.

Over the past year, she filled in for the previous Harbor Master when he abruptly left. Shortly thereafter, she took over the Payroll function after the previous City Clerk left.

Although she recently lost her husband, she did not skip a beat. She has four beautiful children and has a saying that she can treat people equally, yet different. This is evidenced by how she interacts with a very diverse client group at the Harbor. One day, a rebel flag appeared on a shrimp boat. When asked by the Mayor to see about having it taken down, it only took one day for Jennifer to engage with the boat owner and have it taken down.

Jennifer is very passionate about her work at the Harbor and City Hall and is always looking for another challenge to overcome.