Earlier this week Ellis County commissioners unanimously approved a proclamation honoring Helping Hands of Ennis for achieving national recognition.

A nonprofit social service agency, Helping Hands provides assistance to the poor through food bank items, clothing, rental assistance and assistance with energy bills.

“Helping Hands of Ennis is among only 2,000 of the more than one million charities nationwide chosen to receive this prestigious recognition,” said County Judge Chad Adams, reading from his proclamation.

The organization was awarded the designation of “Best in America” as certified by Independent Charities of America, specifically for its “exceptional accounting practices.”

“We are very pleased to be here tonight and we appreciate very much your consideration of this proclamation,” said Janey Fallen, board vice president. “This was a difficult thing and we owe this award to our employees, in particular Jo Wesley, and Sylvia Bulot, who has served as our treasurer of the board and money person for many years.”

Fallen said Bulot recently retired from her post.

“I am sorry to see you moving on,” Adams said. “But I have a hunch that you will be called upon.”

Commissioners also took time out to recognize county communications director Diana Buckley, who recently received a 2007 Meritorious Award from the National Association of County Information Officers Awards of Excellence Competition.

Buckley was honored with third place in the special projects category for the Puzzle Piece Awards Ceremony, a county-wide presentation in response to the National Association of Counties’ recognition of then Judge Bob Carroll’s outstanding work in Child Protective Services cases.

“This is nothing like being one of only 2,000 out of over one million to receive an award - that is truly incredible,” Buckley said. “There were 600 entries in the competition, with nine different categories.”

Ellis County competed among counties with fewer than 500,000 in population, with this year’s competition judged by the Mississippi Press Association.

“When I talked with other county information officers, I discovered that we do a lot with very little money,” Buckley said. “So you can be very proud of that as well.”

Buckley extended appreciation to others for their part in the success of the ceremony, including staff members Leanne Brindle, Judy Robertson, Holly Davis, Gretchen Kitzman and Louise Scoggins; volunteer Gina Adams; and vendors Susan Howard, Thomas Buford of All Sports Trophies and Jessica Nixon.

“Donations were made by state Sen. Kip Averitt and state Rep. Jim Pitts, to help with the expense of putting it all together,” Buckley said.

“When there are emergencies or disasters, such as all the recent flooding, it is amazing how this team works together and gets the information out,” Adams added. “We appreciate their work very much.”