IUKA — Tishomingo County’s economic development chief is getting a rare recognition in Iuka on Thursday.

Iuka Rotary has declared “Gary Matthews Day” and is inviting the community to a party in his honor. It is set to begin at the Jaybird Park in downtown Iuka at 11 a.m. with hot dogs served at noon and a drawing set for 1:30 p.m.

“It takes an extraordinary individual to have a day set aside for them, and Mr. Matthews is that kind of man,” said Ben Kitchens, who is extending the invitation. “He is known to hate an empty industrial building, and when he finds one, he quietly but efficiently works diligently to fill it to full capacity.”

Matthews has helmed the Tishomingo County Development Foundation as executive director for the past 17 years and has left his mark on dozens of industries that “continue to pump out products and paychecks to help vitalize our community,” according to Kitchens.

Matthews is credited with a role in bringing more than 2,300 jobs and more than $380 million in private investment to the county during the past 10 years and securing recognition among the top counties in the U.S. for efficient government from 2015 to 2018.

Iuka Rotary hails him as “a remarkable leader” and one who is “easy to work with.”

The occasion will include several speakers. Matthews is expected to be recognized with a resolution in his honor from the Mississippi Legislature and a key to the City of Iuka.

The event is being held outdoors with all COVID precautions being observed, including hand sanitizer, social distancing and face masks.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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