Posted on Jun 21, 2017


Mr. Richard Potin, of Hattiesburg, has been selected as the recipient of Rotary Club of Hattiesburg’s Bill Gwyn Non-Rotarian of the Year award.  This award is used to honor someone from our region who exemplifies our club’s values, our commitment to service, and the empowerment of those less fortunate.
In 2016, Richard was awarded the Junior Auxiliary’s 2016 Humanitarian of the Year award.  Steve Ramp, who served as Pastor of Westminister Presbyterian Church at the time, stated that “Richard’s work impacts the lives of countless women and children in the Pinebelt.  While it may not seem like much, receiving couches, chairs, or a kitchen table can help families recovering from a traumatic life event feel more stable.  Richard has a genuine passion for helping the needy and is extremely devoted to his work.”
When fellow Rotarian Steve Ramp heard that the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg would be honoring Potin with the 2017 Bill Gwyn Non-Rotarian of the Year award, he added that “Richard Potin is an unsung hero.  He sees a need and he quietly goes about helping provide a solution.  He puts service above self every day.  He is a great example of Rotary and Christian values.”
Jaclyn Adams, President of the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg, remarked that “Richard Potin is an amazing person that truly embodies our club’s motto of service above self.  Richard provides a beacon of hope to those that are often at a crossroad in their life.  Many may think that he is just providing those in need with furniture but it is so much more.  He is really providing those in need with dignity, strength, and a modicum of stability when they need it most.  He humbly goes about his day not realizing the difference that he has made to those in the Pinebelt.   I am honored to present this award to Richard to show him how much our community appreciates his work.”
In 2006, a group of individuals at Westminister Presbyterian Church recognized the need in the Hattiesburg community for a service that collected and distributed used furniture to families in need.  A key member of this group was Richard Potin and after volunteering his time with the Westminister Furniture Ministry for two years, he assumed the role of coordinator.  The furniture ministry helps more than 300 households each year as people are coming out of domestic abuse, prison, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, homelessness and instances of natural disaster. 
Under Richard’s watch, the furniture ministry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last nine years.  He has nurtured and expanded the furniture ministry enormously and regularly deals with governmental agencies, community non-profits, and churches to keep the ministry alive.  Richard’s passion for people and genuine desire to show compassion and love to those hurting in our area are what lead to his selection as the 2017 Bill Gwyn Non-Rotarian of the Year.
Richard will be presented with a Paul Harris Fellow recognition certificate and pin that signifies that the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg has given a gift of $1000 in his honor to the Rotary Foundation.  Former Bill Gwyn Non-Rotarian of the Year recipients include Mr. Scott Covington (Hattiesburg Coca-Cola, Leadership Pinebelt) and Michael Dixon (Extra Table, Ekklesia).