Editor's Note: Coahoma County Supervisor Paul Pearson was named the 2021 Man of the Year in the Clarksdale Press Register, Best of Poll taken last month.
Paul Pearson has been fixing things since he bought a 1949 pickup from a family member for $100.
“It was my first truck and if it was going to run, Paul had to fix it,” Pearson said. “I had to figure out what was wrong, how to get it off and then back on and then how I was going to pay for it.”
Pearson said he learned a lot from that truck and not all of it was about mechanics.
He was born at Clarksdale Hospital in June 1954, graduated from Clarksdale High School and has lived here all his life.
“I know just about everybody because we moved several times when I was a kid,” said Pearson. “I went to school in just about every community in Coahoma County.”
And Pearson believes maintaining those relationships, being honest and friendly to folk and helping them with their problem has helped Pearson through the years.
He was elected to the Coahoma County Board of Supervisors in 1995. He opened Delta Muffler in 1983.
A hand-on kind of person, Pearson can fix mufflers or make the telephone call to help someone with a county issue.
“You have to know people and then you have to work hard to solve problems,” said Pearson. “I’ve found working hard on a problem until it’s finished is the big part.”
Pearson learned to work early.
He shined shoes for .25-cents in middle school. He said he still has some of those silver Flying Eagle quarters.
“I’ve delivered newspapers, dug ditches and even worked for a plumber,” said Pearson. “I started work for Safeway (Grocery) in 1971.”
He bought a brand new Kawasaki motorcycle his senior year in high school and life was good.
“I probably would have stayed at Safeway the rest of my life,” said Pearson. “I liked the work, I liked the people I worked with and you saw everybody every week when they came to buy groceries.”
But things change and Safeway closed.
“I opened Delta Muffler in 1983 and we did a little of everything,” said Pearson. “We fixed brakes, did tune-ups, put on mufflers and if we couldn’t fix it, I’d send you to someone who could.”
Pearson said it was people coming to Delta Muffler and talking “shop” that prompted him to run for Supervisor.
He said being an elected official has been one of the most satisfying and frustrating jobs he ever held.
“I didn’t have a clue how things worked and most folks don’t,” said Pearson. “Government works so slow. As a businessman, I saw a problem or wanted to change things and I did it. It’s not that way with government. It takes time and most people with a problem don’t have a lot of time.”
He talked of working on county projects from roads and railroads to buildings and bridges.
“I think I am most proud of the economic development projects we - and I do mean we - brought to Clarksdale,” said Pearson. “We haven’t landed the big 500 job factory but we have brought a lot of smaller industry - the 50 to 100 job businesses - and they total about 500 jobs.
“I also think having a diversified industrial base is better,” said Pearson. “I’ve seen where a company decides to leave and people are suddenly out of work.”
Pearson said can be hard and some problems can’t be solved. He spoke of his wife Cindy dying of cancer.
“It was the hardest time of my life and it was the people of Coahoma County, my friends, who pulled me through it.
“This is a great place to live and work,” he added. “It’s the people that make this place great.”