Harry Lee Williams, Jr. has earned those titles and countless more over his career, but most people know him best as "Sandy."
Sandy Williams, a graduate of Corinth High School, is the latest Warrior to receive the school's Distinguished Alumni Award. Williams, Board Chairman of Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Works, becomes the sixth CHS grad to earn the honor from the alumni association.
He will be honored Friday at halftime of Corinth’s Homecoming game.
"His work and accomplishments through Coca-Cola, First United Methodist Church, the CREATE Foundation, our community and Northeast Mississippi made him the perfect choice," said nomination committee chairman Kim Holloway Roberts. "Sandy is a hometown product who has always given back to his community."
Williams, the husband of Rosemary, and father to Lane Williams Yoder and Lee Williams, has been part of Coca-Cola for 50 years, serving on a local, regional and a national level. He was recently named one of three recipients of the "Living Legend" national award presented by the Coca-Cola Bottlers' Association.
The Corinth High School Distinguished Alumni Award is presented each year. The award seeks to honor the outstanding contributions of an alumnus to the community, profession or nation.
Williams plays a big part in the community of Corinth. Today, he serves on the Board of Directors of the American Beverage Association and is on the Board and Executive Committee of Gulf States Canners, Inc. Williams is also past president of several entities in the soft drink industry, including the national organization, Main Stream Council of Coca-Cola Bottlers, Coca-Cola Bottlers Association of Mississippi and the Mississippi Soft Drink Association.
He has been part of Coca-Cola since graduating from the University of Mississippi with a BBA degree. After graduating Ole Miss, Williams returned to Coca-Cola Bottling Works where he and his brother, Kenneth, expanded the business to include franchises for both Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper from Lexington, Tenn. to Tupelo. Along the way, they started Refreshments, Inc., a full line vending and catering company, which now has operations in Corinth, Tupelo and Jackson, Tenn.
His efforts to support education include serving as chairman of the Coca-Cola Scholars Board for 14 years. During the 14 years, the number of scholars was increased from 150 to 250, and granting over $1.8 million in awards annually.
In both 1979 and 1998, he was chosen as the Mississippi Soft Drink Association (MSDA) Bottler of the Year. In 2000, he was inducted into “Beverage World” magazine’s Hall of Fame.
Other community involvements include:
• Being a long time member of Corinth Kiwanis Club, having served as president and as Regional Lt. Governor.
• Served many years on the Board and Committees of the Corinth/Alcorn Area Chamber of Commerce and a term as president.
• Recipient of the Chamber’s “Spirit of Service Award” for “Outstanding Lifetime Achievement."
• Served many years as a Boy Scout Master and on the Yocona Area Council Board of Directors and is a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award.
• Served four years as the first Chairman of the Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi, a regional effort, where he still serves as Member Emeritus. (1995-present).
• Longtime Board Member (1996-present) and past Chairman of the CREATE Foundation, Mississippi’s oldest and largest Community Foundation serving 16 counties in Northeast Mississippi.
• Served 11 years on the Board of Directors of BancorpSouth, a $17 billion regional Bank headquartered in Tupelo.
• Instrumental in the formation and implementation of C.A.R.E., Corinth’s only Community Foundation, where he remains as acting Chairman.
• A life member of First United Methodist Church where he has served as Administration Board member and Chairman; sung in the choir for may years; and has been very active in Mission Work and former chairman of the Finance Committee.
• He has been active in the local Chapter of Habitat for Humanity since its inception, served as chairman and still serving on its Board. Has acted as building coordinator on a number of its projects.
• Chosen Junior Auxiliary’s “Outstanding Citizen of the Year” in 1998.
• Designated as a Paul Harris Fellow by the Corinth Rotary Club.
• Served on the Board of Directors of the Security Bank (which later evolved to today’s Region’s Bank).
• Served on the Board of United Way.
• Member of The Nature Conservancy Board of Trustees in the Mississippi Office.
• Member of People Against Litter (PAL) state board.
• Member of AHEAD state board.
• Member of Y.M.C.A Board of Directors
• Served on the Board of Directors of Wood Jr. College.
• Helped organize Northeast Mississippi Museum Association.
• Instrumental in the founding of Corinth Theatre-Arts.
• Served on the Board of Managers of the Alcorn County Electric Power Association.
Past recipients are of the alumni award are : 2008 – James Price, former Rhodes Scholar; 2009 – John Palmer, former Ambassador to Portugal; 2010 – Neal Biggers, Federal Judge; 2011 – Dr. Mark Keenum, current President of Mississippi State University; and 2012 – Lanny Griffith, former Assistant Secretary of Education under Lamar Alexander.