John Blanks, of Hattiesburg, was recently awarded the James C. Stubbs Volunteer Award by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health at the annual Mental Health/Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Joint Conference. Blanks was nominated for the award by South Mississippi State Hospital, where he has served on the board of directors for the hospital’s Friends organization for many years. He has served four terms as president and several terms as vice-president. He and his wife, Babs, are very strong advocates in the community for mental health and for South Mississippi State Hospital and its mission.
Blanks holds a master of education degree in counseling from Delta State University. He is involved with several organizations that help individuals who are disadvantaged. Blanks’ first involvement with the Mental Health Association was in Washington County in 1977. The work he did there inspired him to return to college to get his master’s degree and work as a mental health professional at East Mississippi State Hospital and with a private hospital, both in Meridian. Blanks moved to Hattiesburg in 1984 and re-started the then-defunct Mental Health Association. He remains a volunteer with the Mental Health Association of the Pinebelt, having served in several officer positions, including president and treasurer.