n He said he will continue working

to improve the lives of children.

BY M. SCOTT MORRIS

Daily Journal

TUPELO - Dr. Ed Hill began to suspect something when he learned the 2008 Outstanding Citizen of the Year was born in Omaha, Neb., and moved to Vicksburg.

He wondered if those two cities could claim anyone else in the BancorpSouth Arena.

"The shocking thing is I haven't been here that long," Hill said moments after accepting the award Friday.

He moved to Tupelo in 1995, and has dedicated much of his time to improving the lives of children. That's right in line with the mission of Junior Auxiliary, which staged the 45th Charity Ball to fund projects geared toward young people.

Hill said he's thankful to live in a community that realizes the way to address long-term problems is by helping children.

He recently celebrated his 70th birthday, and said he'd pondered this phrase: "You're only old when regrets begin to replace your dreams."

"My dreams have not been replaced," he said.

A long way

An average student in high school in Vicksburg, school administrators weren't sure Hill was college material.

"É After taking a career aptitude test, he was pegged to be an interior decorator," Beth Holliman, president of Junior Auxiliary, said in her introduction.

He went on to earn degrees from both the University of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi School of Medicine.

After school, the young doctor served in the U.S. Navy, then he and his wife, Jean, settled in the Delta for 27 years.

He moved to Tupelo in 1995 to develop North Mississippi Medical Center's Family Medicine Residency Program.

"He stepped down as director in 2001, but remains on the faculty full time and has an active practice," Holliman said.

He was the first Mississippian in history to serve as president of the American Medical Association, and he's the current chairman of council for the World Medical Association.

"He has been a national spokesman on medical issues and has testified before congressional and federal agency hearings on a wide range of policy matters," Sen. Roger Wicker of Tupelo said. "He is a frequent visitor to the White House to discuss health issues with the president."

Service

Hill and his wife have two daughters, Ginger Hill Brown and Kathy Hill Sanford.

"He also has five grandchildren which he describes as perfect,'" Holliman said.

He's a member of First United Methodist Church, the Rotary Club and the Community Development Foundation.

He's given his time to CATCH Kids, which provides health care to children under 18, and he's worked with the Good Samaritan Free Clinic.

Linda Gholston, director of Sanctuary Hospice House, said Hill was instrumental in creating her facility.

"One call to Dr. Ed Hill and he was totally supportive of the endeavor," she said. "He wrote congressmen, talked with their staffs, and many say that doors were opened to them because of Dr. Hill's interest and influence."

Don't expect Friday night's award to put an end to his service.

"He just doesn't know how to slow down," Holliman said.

Contact M. Scott Morris at 678-1589

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