For the hundreds who did not attend the “Black and White Affair” and who may think of those honored at the annual Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Gala as just upper-echelon business executives, let me assure you that they are truly down-to-earth, hard-working residents. In truth, much of the work for which they were recognized benefits Dawson County in general, not just their own businesses.
We have been very fortunate that ever since its opening day here, Kroger has sent us managers who were outstanding community participants — like outgoing Chamber Chairman Jay Walker. As each of his predecessors was transferred, some of us would mourn for fear the new one would be less community oriented. Not so. Actually, so is Ingle’s manager, Jim Young, though not so active with the chamber; and the Food Lion people have also proven to be wonderfully cooperative with community projects. So we can count our blessings — and hope they continue.
It was good to see Taylor Wallace recognized by the chamber because he is usually the one recognizing others. I was also glad that Vernon Smith was given an award because his wife, Jeannie, has received woman’s club awards for two years, so now he won’t be jealous. They have both been generous in sharing time and facilities.
Now there is an example of native and new blending to make our county a good place to live: Taylor comes from pioneer Dawson County families and the Smiths have fairly recently, but firmly, put down roots here. It takes all of us.
Cecil Bennett, who has become our Wal-Mart’s public relations face, is another with deep roots in Dawson County. Before he became coordinator for the many donations Wal-Mart makes to community organizations, he had served on the county’s board of commissioners and on the board of education, where he is again serving. (Incidentally, he was also a good next-door neighbor before he moved from my street.)
Some of the other honorees I have not known so well, but I am confident that they, like these I have cited, are also genuine in their willingness to work to make life better for others without thinking of receiving plaques and awards.
The same could be said of my environmentalist friend Dave Hinderliter, who breathed life into Arbor Day in Dawson County, and who will undoubtedly be planting a tree somewhere on Feb. 19.
And, whether successful or not, the “for others” label can be placed on the attempt to pass Georgia legislation banning texting while driving, being pushed by Sallie and Larry Sorohan of Dahlonega.
Our Rep. Amos Amerson has introduced such a bill, and so has someone else; but even if the two bills never emerge from committee, I know the Sorohans well enough to believe that they will keep pursuing the subject. Not only are they honoring their late grandson, whose death was apparently the result of such texting, but more importantly, they hope to prevent other such accidents.
Sometimes we see pictures and hear names and think: “Oh, that’s nice.” But when you know the people who are doing these “nice” things, you know they are for real. And they will keep on doing them.
Congratulations and thanks.