Dr. Rod Risley, chair of the Mississippi Humanities Council, recently announced the election of four new board members. Harold Comby, Philadelphia, is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and captain of support for the Choctaw Reservation police force. He has a degree in social work from Jackson State University and has completed courses in vocational counseling at the University of Mississippi. He worked as a youth counselor for the Choctaw Tribe until 1982 when he became a police officer. He has served 27 years as a police officer with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Choctaw Tribe. Comby is a gourd dancer and a powwow emcee. He is an advocate for using Native American traditions as a healing tool, and he speaks regularly on cultural diversity at prisons, schools and civic clubs. He has four daughters, two in college and one in high school.
Panny Flautt Mayfield, Clarksdale, is an award-winning writer and photographer for newspapers, magazines, films and special-interest publications featuring the blues, gospel music and Southern culture. She is public relations director at Coahoma Community College where she has coordinated the annual Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival since it was founded in 1992. She is a charter member of the Sunflower River Blues Association, recipient of the Early Wright Blues Heritage Award and Clarksdale’s 2006 Citizen of the Year. She has three grown children and two grandsons.
Dr. Gary Myers, Starkville, is professor of English and creative writing and dean of the Institute of the Humanities at Mississippi State University as well as a poet whose work has appeared in publications throughout the U.S. and Canada. Born in Great Falls, Mont., and educated in the Midwest, Myers came to Mississippi in 1989. He is a recipient of the John Grisham Faculty Excellence Award at MSU. In addition to teaching, Myers is also an accomplished musician on contrabass, electric bass and guitar. He and his wife, Connie, have two children.
Peyton Prospere, Jackson, is an attorney with Watkins & Eager, PLLC, where he specializes in municipal law and finance for local government entities, hospitals and major corporations. He has served as general counsel for the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development, legal counsel for former Gov. Ronald Musgrove and as Mississippi state treasurer. Prospere was born in Nashville, Tenn., but grew up in Greenville. He earned a B.A. in German from Davidson College and a law degree from the University of Mississippi. He has served as an adjunct professor of international law at the Mississippi College School of Law and as a member of the Board of Bar Commissioners for the Mississippi State Bar.