Charles J. Brown
Charles J. Brown moves swiftly through his life, making a difference with impeccable service to his country, his long-time employer, his church, community and, more importantly, his family.
It all began in the public schools of Hattiesburg, ending with his graduation from the L.J. Rowan High School in Hattiesburg in 1958 as class president. From Rowan, his education continued at William Carey College with a Bachelor of Science on May 19,1973; the University of Colorado at Denver with a vocational training degree; and at the National Veterans Training Institute on April 8, 1997.
He rendered stellar service to his country for 11 years, serving as Sergeant First Class U.S. Army from 1958-69; retired in 1969; and due to a medical issue (Walter Reed Army Medical Center) in May 1969 was honorably discharged in June 1969 for medical reasons. He was also decorated for heroism, including two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars for Valor, and numerous other citations with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vietnam 1967.
He served his life-long employer, Mississippi Employment Security Commission, from 1973-2000. During this time, he served in Employment Aid as a vocational counselor working with applicants receiving state/public assistance; he also served at the levels of Employment Counselor II, Employment Counselor III and worked in the Veterans Outreach Program. He was recognized as the Mississippi Counselor of the Year in 19990 and received the Mississippi International Association Personnel in Employment Security, Community Service Award in both 1988 and 1995.
Charles’ life of hard work and dedicated service earned him a number of honors and awards, including the Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Veteran of the Year (first recipient), 1994; received the Dr. John Hope Franklin Award for Community Service, 2012; the Hattiesburg Professional and Business Men’s Club Man of the Year, 1978; Jesse L. Brown Elks Lodge Man of the Year, 1987; African-American Military History Museum Service Award, 2000; Jesse L. Brown Community Service Award, 2004; Southwestern Province Polemarch Award from Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., 2013; the Brown/Lucas Executive Conference Room at the Lake Terrace Convention Center (in part, bears his name); William Carey University Hall of Fame Class of 2012; featured in the History Channel “Vietnam in HD” television series; member of the Foundation Board of Directors; AARP member; and active member of EURO (now EUROHA) since 1974. Charles’ name is also engraved in seven public buildings in Hattiesburg: City Hall – First Veteran of the Year, Hattiesburg Convention Center, Saenger Theater, African-American Military History Museum, Hattiesburg Forrest County Library, Petal Library, Kamper Park Zoo and Eureka School, as a member of their boards or commissions.
As a man of deep and abiding faith, Charles is a life-long member of True Light Missionary Baptist Church, where he served as deacon (past chair) and trustee, past Sunday School superintendent (25 years) and director of the youth department.
Charles’ life of dedication to his employer, his country and his faith have brought a number of organizations to take advantage of his expertise, wisdom and professional competency. His membership on boards and other organizations include Main Street Policy board; Hattiesburg Convention Commission; Hattiesburg-Petal, Forrest County Library Trustee; Hattiesburg Public Schools Biracial Advisory Committee; Hattiesburg Economic Task Force Committee; NAACP Forrest County Chapter Executive Board, where he is a Gold Life Sustaining Member; Hattiesburg Arts Council; The University of Southern Mississippi Partners for the Arts; Disabled American Veterans – Life Member; VFW Life Member; member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.; and American Legion Vietnam lecturer for The University of Southern Mississippi History department (in 2000, accompanied USM study-abroad students to Vietnam); South Mississippi Community Action Agency member; Pine Burr Council Boy Scouts of America – Pine Burr Award; Salvation Army Advisory Council; R3SM Board of Directors; and Hattiesburg Rotary Club, Non-Rotarian of the Year Award, 2011. Charles has three children and seven grandchildren.