• 59°

Hall, Whaley receive nominations for the Pilot Club Woman of the Year

When the Chamber of Commerce holds its 92nd Annual Awards Celebration on Thursday, June 8, they will announce the winners of the annual Man and WomanOf the Year competition.

Nominations for the Man of the Year come recommended by the Kiwanis Club and the Woman of the Year is sponsored by the Pilot Club.

This year two women, Threasa Hall and Elizabeth Whaley, have been nominated. Their letters of nomination are as follows:

Threasa was nominated by Carolyn Iamon who wrote:

“Most of you know Threasa as the manager of the local Belk Department Store. She has worked there without interruption since 1978. I had the pleasure of working for Threasa at Belk for 10 months, and consider her to be a very fair and supportive boss who cares for her employees and their welfare.

“In addition to her demanding job of overseeing an average of 35 employees, she takes her community commitments very seriously. She served as president of the Bainbridge Rotary Club from July 2015-2016, and remains an active member of the club and Rotary board.

“She is a charter member of the Decatur County Schools Foundation, has served as a mentor with the One on One Mentoring program with middle school students since it began, works for and supports Relay for Life and the Decatur County Breast Cancer Support Group, working with the annual luncheon and style show. She serves on the United Way Board and participates in various fund-raising sales events along with Belk Corporate.

“She is a member of First Baptist Church where she teaches two and three year-old Sunday School children.

“With all of the demands on her life, she has managed to raise two great sons, who are now married and have given her three grandchildren to love and spoil.

I cannot honestly think of any Decatur County woman more deserving of this honor than Threasa Hall. She gives back to her community over and over again.”

Elizabeth Whaley was nominated by two individuals, Ronnie Burke and Ann Brannen.

In his letter, Burke writes:

“I have known and worked with Elizabeth for a number of years in our association with Decatur County Family Connection. Elizabeth has a special heart for helping those who have gone through difficult times. She has taught a number of classes for high-risk teenagers at the middle school and high school level to help them make positive choices in their lives. She was instrumental in Family Connection having a number of very successful “Teen Mazes” that also pointed out to middle schoolers that their actions have positive and negative consequences. For the past several years, she has dedicated her time to help bring awareness of child sexual abuse through her work with the Stewards of Children “Darkness to Light” program. She has become a trainer of this program and has conducted dozens of workshops for groups all over Decatur County that has now trained over 800 people. All of this was done as a volunteer. In her association with Family Connection and now as a board member, she has also volunteered and helped with countless events and programs, such as the Backpack Program, food and clothes closets, literacy initiatives, GED and many school system related programs. She has worked many hours at our many fund-raising activities, especially the Port City Rodeo and the BBQ event at River Town Days. Family Connection has been fortunate to be associated with many successful programs and events that have helped thousands of families in Decatur County, and Elizabeth has been instrumental in the success of nearly all of them. She is one of those special people who, when hearing of an idea or program that will help others, her quick response is always, ‘How can I help?’ I know she also has this same passion for helping in her church and other civic clubs. The best thing that can be said is that there are hundreds of families and individuals in our county whose lives have been improved because of the helping spirit of Elizabeth Whaley. I cannot think of anyone who is more deserving than Elizabeth, and, on behalf of Family Connection and its board of directors, we whole-heartily support the nomination of this honor for her.”

In a letter of nomination, Ann Brannen speaks of their friendship that dates back to when they were children, and renewed when each moved back to Bainbridge. In excerpts taken from her lengthy letter she continues by speaking about Elizabeth’s service to God, youth and community.

“Elizabeth is a devoted wife and mother. Her love runs deep and is demonstrated daily to her family. Charlotte, her daughter, stated that her Mom’s servant heart values everyone equally and she naturally lives this out with everyone she comes into contact with. Her husband Don and William Paul can also testify to her humility in serving their family and others.

“Elizabeth has positively impacted our community through Family Connection in numerous ways. As a facilitator for Stewards of Children-Darkness to light program, Elizabeth has reached around 600-800 individuals in our area. Stewards of Children, is a two-hour, evidence-informed training program that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The program is designed for parents, youth serving organizations, and other concerned individuals. Finding ways to get our entire community involved in this grassroots initiative to end child sexual abuse is a deep-seated passion for her. She plans to continue making connections in our community through this program in the years to come. Elizabeth is a dynamic advocate for children and adult survivors who need hope and healing.

“Elizabeth is a compassionate and devout teacher who gives her all in the classroom. She has spent numerous years teaching youth and children in Decatur County. She and I worked several years together at Bainbridge State College teaching students of all ages. I was fortunate enough to see firsthand how dedicated she is to her students. Her enthusiasm for learning is inspiring. She thinks outside the box and goes the extra 10 miles, expecting nothing in return.

“Elizabeth’s service in our community is vast. She is a member of the Decatur County Citizens Against Domestic Violence and CAFÉ-Circles of Adults Focusing on Education. She volunteers to help shelve the canned goods at our community Food Bank housed at the Bainbridge First United Methodist Church. Elizabeth is a current board member of Samaritan Counseling Center of Southwest Georgia. Twelve years ago when the Samaritan Counseling was being formed, Elizabeth led our prayer team, which paved the way for the Center we have today. ……She has volunteered to help in any way possible. Most of the ways she has helped are behind the scenes, which she doesn’t even recognize as being significant. …..In recent years she has participated as a house captain for Samaritan Christmas Tour of Homes fundraiser, which will resume again in 2017. Elizabeth’s dedication and devotion to serving in many capacities testifies to her servant’s heart, which is warm, merciful and considerate.

“There are really not enough words to sing the praises of one God has set apart…..The fruits of her labor of love can be found in nooks and crannies all over our community.

It is an honor and privilege to call Elizabeth Whaley my friend and to nominate her for such a deserving recognition.”

Letters of nomination for men will be published in the Wednesday, June 7 edition of The Post Searchlight.