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 Community Service Award Recipients
Christy Pickering
Christy Pickering a certified public accountant and the current owner of Christy Pickering, CPA in Biloxi, MS. She has served on many community boards such as the Gulf Coast Medical Center Board of Trustees, the Biloxi Development Commission, and the Leadership of Gulf Coast Board of Trustees. Christy is the author of the Amazon Best Seller book Courage. It’s the story of how, after two decades of escalating emotional, verbal, and physical abuse, she found the strength to stand, the courage to speak, the determination to act, and finally discovered happiness.
Christy travels nationally, speaking to college students on domestic abuse in relationships and sharing key tools and techniques to look for unhealthy relationships before they get too serious. She volunteers at the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence once a month, sharing her personal experience with domestic violence with the residents. Christy provides the residents with free copies of her books and makes herself available to answer questions. Her kind words, emotional support, and thoughtfulness to the program residents and staff are truly valued.
Lindsey Simmons
Lindsey Simmons has a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s in business administration, both from Mississippi State University. She obtained a juris doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law. Lindsey and her husband own Simmons Consulting Firm, a government relations firm in Jackson. For the past several years, Lindsey has championed victim rights on behalf of victim advocates across the state. A close friend to the Center for Violence Prevention, she has led training and continuing education classes on domestic violence and human trafficking. In 2018, Lindsey helped found Mississippians Against Human Trafficking to serve as an umbrella organization bringing together groups, agencies, and individuals who are in the fight against trafficking. Lindsey served as the Executive Director of MSAHT for two years, and she now serves as President of the Board. Lindsey is passionate about the anti-trafficking movement and overall victim services in our state. Her ultimate goal is to see a shelter opened for child victims of human trafficking. Lindsey lives in Brandon with her husband, Steve, and two children. They are active members of Pinelake Church.
Marcus L. Purnell
Marcus L. Purnell is a 20 year veteran Law Enforcement Officer of the District Attorney – Fifth Circuit District of Mississippi. During his teen years, he developed an interest in law enforcement as a career. Upon graduation from high school, he attended Mississippi Delta Community College Training Academy. Upon completion of the training he was given an opportunity to work in several capacities within the Grenada Police Department.
After being employed with the Grenada Police Department for several years, he obtained Domestic Violence Instructorship through the Federal Law Enforcement Center of Mississippi and secured a grant to start a Domestic Violence Unit within the Grenada Police Department. As a quest to further his training, he was offered and accepted employment as a Criminal Investigator with the Office of the District Attorney – Fifth Circuit District in May 2012. In addition to his responsibilities as a Criminal Investigator with this position, he also oversees the Domestic Violence Program.
Marcus is the proud father of Marshayla Purnell, a freshman at Coahoma Community College; Markeeria Purnell, a junior at Grenada High School; E’Mayla Ford, a sophomore at Holmes Community College; and one grandson, Kaiden Beck.

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