TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- From the jazz music to the dozens of bustling tables inside the BancorpSouth Conference Center, Tuesday night's banquet served two purposes.
The first, to raise money for the Yocona Area Council.
"We kick off the Friends of Scouting Campaign for 2013," Yocona Area Council Vice President of Fundraising Mitch Waycaster said. "We have a $425,000 goal, and with [Tuesday night's] dinner we hope to raise about $225,000."
The second reason for the event: present one north Mississippian with the honor of Distinguished Citizen.
This year's inductee: U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, a native of Pontotoc and a former Boy Scout.
"It's special to me because I was a [Boy] Scout, Troop 95 in Pontotoc. My dad was a scout leader back when he was younger," Wicker said. "My son was an Eagle Scout here in Tupelo. It's just a good opportunity to be with friends who support scouting."
U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Mississippi, says Wicker's character is evidence enough of why he was chosen this year.
"People see the public side of him, but he's a committed husband, a committed father, and he's always put his family first," Nunnelee said. "I think it's very fitting he be honored by the Yocona Council because of that."
With this being the biggest fundraiser of the year for the council, scout executive Rick Chapman says he's incredibly encouraged by the turnout.
"We're very, very fortunate to have such strong support of all the community, of all the churches," Chapman said. "That's what keeps scouting strong, and it's certainly strong here."
Chapman said the council helps provide young children with leadership opportunities and the financial assistance to make that possible.
That's why he says Tuesday night can be summed up as a big success for area Boy Scouts.
The Yocona Area Council involves 12 counties throughout north Mississippi.
Organizers say the money raised stays within those counties.