The extended family of Ruby D. Rankin, 1960-2017, gathered Monday to celebrate the dedication of the local farmers market in honor of her 33 years as a community leader with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
The extended family of Ruby D. Rankin, 1960-2017, gathered Monday to celebrate the dedication of the local farmers market in honor of her 33 years as a community leader with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
By MIKE
ROBERTSON

Kemper County
Messenger



An overflow crowd gathered at the Kemper County Farmers Market Building on Monday, July 17 as it was officially renamed the Ruby D. Rankin Farmers Market Building, in honor of Rankin and her many years of hard work and dedicated service to the people of Kemper County. Included in the gathering were family, friends, co-workers and elected officials.

Rankin was the face of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Kemper County for 33 years until her sudden death in early May.

First to speak was Shelia Newton, Kemper County Schools Special Education Director. Newton said, “Dedication is simply the quality of being dedicated to a cause, and we can all attest to the fact that Ruby was truly dedicated to and committed to the community, to her job and to her church.” Newton stated that under Rankin’s leadership the programs for which she was responsible ran in an effective and efficient manner and that she left a legacy that everyone could emulate and be proud of.

Chancery Clerk Sherline Watkins stated that the moments we consider to be important give definition to who we are as people and communities.

Watkins said, “We welcome you to a ceremony that says that we are moving away from petty things and moving toward togetherness.” She stated that Rankin was right in that working together would make Kemper County, the state and the world a better place.

Speaking for the Board of Supervisors, District 4 Supervisor Mike Luke said that rather than rely on notes he would speak from the heart. Luke recounted how the Board had hired Rankin 33 years ago as a 4-H Club agent, and how she had touched so many lives. He said, “Sometimes it hard to say just how many people she did touch.”

Luke mentioned the different organizations that Rankin was involved in including the Volunteer Homemakers, the Cattlemen’s Association, the Forestry Association and the Relay for Life, and pointed out that whenever there was a need Rankin was there to help.

“She’d be the first one there, the last one to leave, touching people," he said. "It wasn’t just one thing, it was many things that she touched upon. I just can’t say enough about the role that she played in our lives and our community. I want you to know that Ruby was my friend.”

Dr. Gary Jackson, MSU Extension Service Director, said it was a very special time to come together and honor Rankin. He conveyed his appreciation to the Board of Supervisors for recognizing Rankin by renaming the building. He stated that Rankin was a model extension agent.

“The secret to extension success, which has now been over a hundred years, has been at the local level. Extension professionals need to be out with the people, in order to help people solve problems. She was truly the well-rounded, model agent that we desire to have at the local level. We are very blessed to have had her,” Jackson said.

The unveiling of the new sign took place in the front of the building and was followed by a fellowship meal.