Vernon Ehlers honored by MS Gulf Coast Community College
Special to Long Beach Breeze
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College awards the Sam Owen Award each year to a person who has been an active supporter of the college through service and dedication. The Sam Owen Award is given in memory of the late Sam Owen, who was a 1927 graduate of the Perkinston campus.
The 2020 recipient is Vernon Ehlers of Long Beach. He dominated the 1957, 1958 and 1959 yearbooks during his year at Perkinston Agricultural High School and two years of college at the Perkinston Junior College campus. He still holds the record for the most honors and photographs in the yearbooks. As one yearbook staff member put it, “He was awarded everything in the yearbook except Most Beautiful and Miss Perk.”
While at Perkinston Junior College, Ehlers stood out in all the athletic areas. He played and lettered in baseball, football, basketball, and track. He received “All State” and “All American” honors in football in 1959.
Throughout his time at the Perkinston campus, Ehlers had very impressive achievements. He was president of his freshman class and sophomore class. He was elected Mr. Perk Jr. College, and he was selected by the faculty to deliver the graduation speech in May 1959. After graduation, he signed an athletic scholarship with Florida State University to play football and baseball.
During his professional career in education, he began as a classroom teacher and coach, and rose to the level of Superintendent of Education in Long Beach Schools. He has been a lifetime member of the local Jaycees. While serving as President of the Jaycees, he initiated and completed the building of a Youth Center in Long Beach. He also received the Doyle Ray Garrett Award from the Mississippi State Jaycees for signing up the most new members, 34, which still stands today. He is also a lifetime member of the Lions Club, as well as being a lifetime member of the Gulfport Elks Lodge for the last 59 years.
He has continued his service and dedication to the college over the years. He was inducted into the Gulf Coast Community College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003 and the State Community College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.
Ehlers has served as president and vice president of the Bulldog Club at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and remains a member of the governing board. He has raised more than $50,000 for the club by selling $100 signs for the college’s annual golf tournament and raising more than $3,500 for prizes at the golf tournament each year.
While serving on the governing board of the Bulldog Club, Ehlers initiated the motion to create the Bulldog Hall of Honor, which recognizes members of the support groups from athletics, including band, cheerleaders and Perkettes.