Kim Benton submitted this Unsung Hero nomination about her husband, Gary Benton — a man who never slows down, who meets life with a twinkle in his eyes, who always has time.

The couple attends First Baptist Church of Newton. Gary has three children and two stepchildren ranging in age from 16 to 36 — Gary Benton, Cassen Bynum, Todd Benton, Jessica Thomas and Matthew Sistrunk.

Gary Benton has spent more than 40 years in service to educators and children in East Central Mississippi. Dr. Benton retired several years ago as chair of the Education Department at Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus.

In retirement, he has continued to take an active role in the educational process by supervising student teachers, teaching courses and volunteering in school districts.

While at MSU-Meridian, Dr. Benton has been a mentor to teachers and administrators in our area, encouraging them to strive for excellence for themselves and the children they serve.

Since his retirement, Dr. Benton has dedicated a large portion of his time and energy to the children of Newton County.

For the past four years, he has been the driving force behind the Upward Basketball program at our church. His passion for this program is evident in his commitment and the twinkle in his eyes during Saturday morning games.

He spends countless hours securing volunteers, creating schedules and practicing basketball with children. He works behind the scenes to ensure that boys and girls have the opportunity to hear God’s word and participate in family-oriented athletic activities.

Gary’s life truly reflects the passage from Psalms 127: “Behold children are a heritage from the Lord.”

Despite being busy with professional and church activities, he is also a doting father and grandfather. He wouldn’t dream of missing a Cougar football game and the opportunity to cheer for his stepson. Nor world he miss a chance to spend quality time with his grandchildren. His children and grandchildren know they can count on him to encourage, support and listen — regardless of the circumstance.

I am proud of my husband, Gary Benton, and what he stands for as a Christian man. He is an Unsung Hero in the eyes of many!

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