We lost our best Chinese Restaurant to the new site but we’ve gained a state of the art banking facility. The big news is the donation of the adjacent brand new Leo Seals Jr Community Center to the City. Props to Hancock Bank. Here is the Sun Herald story:
Hancock Bank celebrated the official opening of its 4,000-square-foot financial center at 529 U.S. 90 on Thursday and formally named a 3,200-square-foot community center adjacent to the new bank in honor of longtime bank President Leo W. Seal Jr., a Hancock County native.
The celebration, attended by about 250 residents, community leaders and bank executives, was described by Hancock Bank officials as another milestone in the area’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
John P. Baxter, Hancock Bank’s senior vice president and division manager, said, “Dedicating this community center commemorates not only Leo Seal Jr.’s many contributions to Hancock County and the Gulf Coast but also the resilience of the people who have worked tirelessly since Aug. 29, 2005, to revitalize commerce and opportunity throughout the area.”
Seal, a leader in Gulf South banking and philanthropy for more than six decades, has been instrumental in establishing major components of South Mississippi’s economy, including Stennis Space Center and the Port of Gulfport.
The Leo W. Seal Jr. Community Center will provide much-needed meeting and event space to local organizations. Its features include a a service kitchen and a small executive conference room. The main room can accommodate up to 200 people.
The new bank building replaces the branch Katrina destroyed. Shortly after the storm employees worked first from makeshift sites and then in a converted camper. For more than two years the staff operated in a modular unit………
“We have come this far because of the people of Hancock County and South Mississippi and the countless volunteers who continue to support our recovery,” Seal said at the dedication. “Together we have all rolled up our collective sleeves and gone about the business of rebuilding.
“We are filled with pride in the unwavering spirit of our citizens, we are humbled by their accomplishments amid great adversity, and we remain grateful for our shareholders’ and customers’ continued confidence in Hancock Bank.”