A night to honor

Published 6:48 pm Friday, January 27, 2012

Dr. Joe Truhett is applauded by the crowd as he prepares to head to the stage and accept his 2011 Community Service Award at Thursday's Chamber of Commerce awards banquet.|Justin Schuver

Some of the most giving and outstanding individuals in Decatur County were recognized Thursday night, as the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce held its 87th annual awards ceremony at the Kirbo Center at Bainbridge College.

Some of those recognized were cheered for donating their time to important projects, while others were hailed for operating businesses that stimulate the economy and provide needed jobs for Decatur County citizens. In fact, at the end of the night, all of the local business owners were cheered.

“Without you, there’s no ‘commerce’ in our Chamber of Commerce,” said outgoing Chamber chairman Ryan Phillips, to the packed conference room.

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The Montford Lynn Peace Officer of the Year award went to Bainbridge Public Safety Corporal Brian Boyett and BPS Officer Shannon Dunaway; the Pilot Club Woman of the Year award went to Marjorie Mayfield; and the Kiwanis Club Man of the Year award went to Dewey Robinson.

Other recipients of the awards included Ambassador of the Year, Marvin Hall; Small Business of the Year, Southern Triad Construction, represented by Erwin Harrell; Community Service Award, Dr. Joe Truhett; and Pioneer Award, Dr. Sydney Cochran. Bainbridge College President Dr. Richard Carvajal also presented two academic awards — Robert Turner as the college’s Georgia Occupational Award for Leadership (GOAL) winner and Kristan Whatley as the Academic Recognition student.

At the end of the night, Phillips “passed the gavel” to incoming Chamber chairman Charles Tyson.


Peace officers of the year

Post-Searchlight Publisher Jeff Findley presented Boyett and Dunaway with the Montford Lynn Peace Officer of the Year award, in recognition of their brave act of saving an elderly woman from a burning house.

On March 8, 2011, Boyett and Dunaway were called to 1211 Garland Avenue, where they discovered a 104-year-old woman sitting in a chair in the middle of a smoky room. Boyett investigated a stove fire, and Dunaway and two neighbors helped the woman get out of the house safely.

For their acts of bravery, the two were also recognized as the City of Bainbridge’s employees of the quarter at the April 5, 2011, city council meeting.


Man, woman of the year

Robinson, the owner of Robinson Motors and several other businesses in Decatur County, was awarded the Kiwanis Club Man of the Year by club president Chip Davis.

Robinson is the chairman of the board of the Bainbridge Salvation Army Service Center and is the scholarship chairman of the executive committee of the Bainbridge College Foundation. He has also been involved in many other community groups over the years, including the American Cancer Society, Memorial Hospital and Manor, YMCA and Airport Authority.

“I am both humbled and honored to receive this award,” he said. “I promise to do the best I can to fill the shoes of the other men who have earned this honor before me. I want to do what I can to make sure that Bainbridge remains a great place to live.”

Matt Palmer was the other nominee for Man of the Year.

Mayfield, the human resources director for Decatur County, received the Pilot Club Woman of the Year award from club president Carolyn Thompson. Mayfield was nominated because of her service, which includes serving as a board member and secretary for Bainbridge Little Theatre, as the chairman of the literacy committee for the Bainbridge Rotary Club, and as the 2011 chairman of the board of directors for the United Way of Bainbridge-Decatur County.

Sally Miller was the other nominee for the award.


Academic awards

Turner, of Blakely, Ga., was recognized for being selected as the GOAL program winner at Bainbridge College.

Carvajal said Turner had previously been the owner of an engine-repair business, but decided to go back to school after having trouble making ends meet. With his technical skills and additional education, Turner was able to join a work-study program with the U.S. Corps of Engineers, working as a lock and dam operator. Carvajal said Turner recently turned that work-study program into a full-time job, and continues to maintain a plus-3.5 grade-point average in BC’s Electronic Technical program.

Whatley, also of Blakely, was recognized as the college’s Academic Recognition Student for having a 4.0 grade-point average. The award goes to the student with the greatest number of credit-hours with the highest grade-point average.

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