PURVIS, Miss. (November 5, 2013) John Blanks, of Hattiesburg, was recently awarded the James C. Stubbs Volunteer Award by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health at the annual Mental Health/Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Joint Conference.
Blanks was nominated for the award by South Mississippi State Hospital, where he has served on the Board of Directors for the hospital’s Friends organization for many years. He has served four terms as president and several terms as vice-president. Blanks and his wife, Babs, are very strong advocates in the community for mental health and for South Mississippi State Hospital and its mission. They network with friends and at their church to make sure the donated clothing closets at SMSH are stocked with seasonal items when there is need and always ask if there is anything else they can do.
The James C. Stubbs Volunteer Award honors a person who has demonstrated a continuing interest and effort in providing volunteer and advocacy services to citizens of Mississippi with mental health needs and/or Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The award is named in memory of James “Jimmy” Carlton Stubbs, whose career in mental health began in 1950, when he served as staff assistant for the Board of Trustees of Mental Institutions, the state’s predecessor to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.
Blanks holds a Master of Education degree in Counseling from Delta State University. He is involved with several organizations that help individuals who are disadvantaged. Blanks’ first involvement with the Mental Health Association was in Washington County in 1977. The work he did there inspired him to return to college to get his Master’s degree and work as a mental health professional at East Mississippi State Hospital and with a private hospital, both in Meridian. Blanks moved to Hattiesburg in 1984 and re-started the then-defunct Mental Health Association. He remains a volunteer with the Mental Health Association of the Pinebelt, having served in several officer positions, including president and treasurer.
“John can always be counted on when there is a need,” said Donna Simmons, SMSH Public Relations Director. “He always has the best interest of the mentally ill at heart.”
In accepting the Stubbs Award, Blanks called his wife, Babs Faulk, to the podium to share in the honor, saying that she is his “other half” in volunteer efforts, whether on the scene or behind the scenes. The two can often be found helping out at a soup kitchen or performing some type of community service to help the less fortunate.
“This couple is truly a blessing to SMSH and to this community,” said Simmons