BILOXI, MISS., WEDNESDAY, JULY 31, 2013 — John McFarland, a dedicated community volunteer and Red Cross board member, will be honored Friday, September 6, during the Sixth Annual Moonlight & Magnolias signature fundraiser presented by Beau Rivage Resort and Casino to benefit the American Red Cross South Mississippi Chapter. The Dancing with the Stars themed fundraiser begins at 7 p.m.
“I’m delighted to announce John McFarland as the recipient of our South Mississippi Chapter Humanitarian Award,” said event chairperson Audi Oustalet, a dancing alumnus from last year’s event. “John is certainly deserving of this honor and I hope everyone will join us on September 6 to celebrate him and his years of dedication to our community.”
McFarland is the Marketing and Interactive Media Director at SunHerald MultiMedia. A member of the Sun Herald’s editorial board, he is also publisher of The Journal of South Mississippi Business, Mississippi’s largest business monthly, and The Stennis News, a monthly newspaper for NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, McFarland is a graduate of the University of Dayton and continued graduate studies at the University of Cincinnati, University of Southern Mississippi and Louisiana State University. He is a U.S. Army veteran, attaining the rank of Captain.
McFarland is an active member and former Distinguished President of the Gulfport Kiwanis Club. He chaired the annual Kiwanis Student Leadership Conference for 12 years and is the recipient of the George Hixson Award from Kiwanis International. He was the 2009 Chairman of the Mississippi Coast Chamber of Commerce and helped create and still produces the annual Salute to the Military. He continues to serve the chamber as chairman of the Mississippi Coast Film Office.
An active American Red Cross volunteer since 1974, McFarland currently serves as a board member for the South Mississippi Chapter. He has served seven terms on the chapter’s board of directors, and twice served three-year terms as board chairman. From 1992 to 1995 he was a member of the Red Cross State Service Council and from1995-1998 served as State Service Council chairman. He served on the Tourism and Small Business committees of the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal after Hurricane Katrina and currently co-chairs the Premier Destination Initiative for the Gulf Coast Business Council.
He is currently a director of the INFINITY® Science and Education Center at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, a director of the Gulf Coast Business Council, and a director of the Knight Nonprofit Center. He is chairman of the Gulf Coast Regional Tourism Partnership, a non-profit, regional tourism development and marketing corporation. He was the 2012 recipient of the Pat Santucci “Spirit of the Coast” Award presented by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber.
In addition to the Humanitarian Award presentation, another highlight of the evening will be entertainment by this year’s coast celebrity dancers Emily Burke, Biloxi Regional Medical Center; John Carter, Island View Casino Resort; Christen Duhé, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College; Edmond Hughes, Ingalls Shipbuilding; and Butch Oustalet, Butch Oustalet Autoplex.
Tim Allen and Julie Pagano, professional dancers from Mississippi Ballroom Dance Clubs, will accompany the coastal celebs, who have already begun weekly rehearsals.
General admission tickets are $100. To purchase tickets, call (228) 896-4511 or visit any of the Red Cross offices along the coast. Event details and celebrity dancer photos/bios are available online at redcross.org/moonlightandmagnolias
Last season’s dancers, Christina Carter, Kenneth Jones, Andi Oustalet, Dorothy Shaw, Romy Simpson, and David Staehling will serve as judges for the evening. Mississippi’s First Lady Deborah Bryant will serve as honorary chairperson and guest judge. Carrie Duncan from WLOX will emcee and musical entertainment will be provided by Cool Rayz.
All proceeds support the American Red Cross South Mississippi Chapter which serves Covington, Forrest, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, and Stone Counties.