Being her normal self, Juanice Evans is smiling, mingling with Kemper County residents, and snapping pictures at the Fourth of July ceremony at the courthouse square.
"And that's what I remember most is the people," Kemper County Chamber of Commerce Juanice Evans said.
At 73 years old she's the Executive director of the Kemper County Chamber of Commerce. Serving in that position since 1986, she coordinated the independence day celebration. This well known community leader that has her hands in just about everything will soon step down.
"And I could almost cry because it is my last one. I'm retiring." "It hurts, It's like leaving a huge family here in Kemper County," Evans said.
Holding her back tears, she introduced the speakers for the Fourth of July program for the last time. She says although everything she's done is special, this event will be her most memorable program.
"I've been here every year. I don't know what Fourth of July off means but this is the most proud I am of anything I've been associated with," Evans said.
And she's touched so many people including Chief Master Sgt. Jerome Jackson of the Air National Guard. They developed a special bond when Jackson was deployed to the Persian Gulf War..at the time he was a member of the Kemper County Chamber and Mrs. Evans was just starting as Executive Director. Jackson reflects on her kindness.
:She would write letters and send packages and she kept the moral going because it was doing a tough time," Chief Master Sgt. Jerome Jackson of the Air National Guard said.
Evans says she will most likely retire by the end of the month. Board members have two finalists for her position. But she says her work in the community will never stop.
"No I don't want to retire. I'm on the Board of Directors for the Red Cross and I will keep doing that," Evans said.
Plus Evans says she will have more time to spend with her three children, 6 grandchildren and her first great-grand child that's on the way. But many are grateful for her and the legacy she will leave behind.
"It has just been a great time for me," Evans said.