U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today used her official maiden speech to the Senate to pay tribute to Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen, who was killed in the line of duty on Sunday, May 5. Hyde-Smith, who won a special election last November, offered remarks on McKeithen, as well as the need for a responsive federal government to help Mississippians and other citizens overcome disaster situations. “Today, I rise to speak on several important topics,” Hyde-Smith said. “First and foremost, to honor Officer Robert McKeithen, a 24-year decorated veteran of the Biloxi Police Department. Officer McKeithen was described by his Chief as ‘an unbelievably fine policeman.’ He was an Air Force veteran, a husband, and a father, who dedicated his life to serving the people of Biloxi, my state, and our nation. “His loss is a tragedy, and a stark reminder that law enforcement officers risk their lives daily to keep us safe. Officer McKeithen’s family, colleagues, and friends certainly have my deepest sympathy.” McKeithen, 58, was shot outside the Biloxi Police Department. A 24-year veteran of the Biloxi police force, McKeithen earned the Medal of Valor for his life-saving efforts during Hurricane Katrina. He was also a decorated Air Force veteran, who retired from the service before becoming a law enforcement officer. McKeithen is survived by his wife Pamela, four children, and two grandchildren.
UPCOMING FUNDRAISERS FOR BILOXI OFFICER ROBERT MCKEITHEN:
▪ Wednesday, May 15 — Benefit at The Blind Tiger, 265 Beach Blvd., south of Harrah’s Gulf Coast. Get a $10 burger and chips all day from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Free delivery for large orders in the Biloxi area.
▪ Wednesday, May 15 — Domino’s fundraiser. Mention officer McKeithen’s name when you order at any Coast Domino’s location and 20% of the sale will go to his family.
▪ Sunday, May 19 — Officer McKeithen Memorial Walk will be at Jones Park in Gulfport beginning at 7 a.m.
▪ Through May — The Reef and Sky Bar on U.S. 90 in Biloxi has created a special Biloxi Blu cocktail and a Black and Blue burger. For every purchase, the venue will donate $1 to the McKeithen family, matched by Absolut Vodka.
▪ June 8-9 — Plans are still developing for this benefit co-ed softball tournament at the new Ocean Springs Sports Complex off Mississippi 57, and police officers from two states will be playing. Upmpires familiar with USSSA rules are needed. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
▪ A benefit fund is set up at Southern Coastal Federal Credit Union. To donate, call 228-432-0284, or go by their office at 1042 E Howard Ave. in Biloxi or at 10383 Automall Parkway in D’iberville. Checks to the McKeithen Family Fund can be mailed to PO Box 503, Biloxi, MS 39530.
SOME OF THE OTHER TOP LOCAL STORIES WE DISCUSSED ON "Gulf Coast Mornings with Kelly Bennett and Uncle Henry":
Last week's heavy rain probably has some Mississippians wishing they had bought flood insurance and others relieved that they have it. But state Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney is warning that the clock is ticking on the reauthorization of the flood insurance program. Chaney says Congress has until the end of the month to keep the program from lapsing. About 63-thousand Mississippians have flood policies. Chaney is hoping the law will be changed to allow the private sector to offer the same kind of flood coverage that the government provides in an effort to lower the cost.
The National Weather Service has confirmed tornado touchdowns in Mississippi last week. Those Thursday morning storms in Jackson and McComb were both classified as EF-1 tornadoes. One touched down along the Natchez Trace Parkway and tracked for about three and a half miles into northwest Jackson doing only some tree damage. The other tornado was on the ground in McComb for about a mile, snapping and uprooting trees. Nobody was hurt in either storm.
Tomorrow, the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS) off Pass Road in Biloxi will host the Ninth Annual National VA2K event. This year, Mrs. Earth USA, Brandy Jarvis-Ibos, will be a special guest of honor. Jarvis-Ibos is from Biloxi and is a former New Orleans Saints cheerleader.
This year, the VA2K will be held at Hiller Park, just outside the west gate of the Biloxi VA, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This event promotes safe, healthy physical activity while benefiting homeless Veterans. Monetary and nonmonetary donations will be accepted as entry to the walk. The Mississippi Gulf Coast community is invited to come out and walk in support of our homeless Veterans. Shuttles from the main hospital will run throughout the event to transport employees and Veterans.
Mississippi is joining 43 other states in suing some of the country's largest generic drug manufacturers, claiming they conspired to artificially inflate prices. The complaint alleges that twenty different companies engaged in a broad, coordinated campaign to conspire with each other to fix prices and rig bids for more than 100 different generic drugs. Much of the alleged wrongdoing occurred between 2013 and 2015, with some prices inflated by as much as one-thousand-percent. The lawsuit is seeking civil penalties and judicial action to restore competition to the generic drug market.