A well-known Dawson County figure celebrated her 90th birthday Sunday afternoon surrounded by friends and family.
Local historian, columnist and former educator Helen Taylor marked the occasion with a gathering at Bethel United Methodist Church.
Taylor retired to Dawson County in 1982, following a career with Atlanta schools, with late husband Morris, who was from the Dawson County area.
"I am humbled, I am grateful, I am overwhelmed and, if most people wouldn't laugh, I would say I am speechless," Taylor said. "When Morris and I moved here, one of the first things we did was ... get involved. I joined the Dawson County Woman's Club and Morris joined the Dawson County Lion's Club and we got involved. Through that, I got involved in getting a lot of things started."
Not content to settle down after retiring, Taylor went to work making changes in the county.
"A lot of people just moved up here and sat down and relaxed," she said. "Honestly, I thought that's what we were going to do, too. But a lot of newcomers got involved and Dawson County has really profited by it.
"All the old-timers can say thank you to all the newcomers for the work that they have done in making Dawson County a wonderful place to live."
Since coming to Dawson, Taylor has been instrumental in restoring the historic courthouse, organizing a historical and genealogical society and publishing the Dawson County Heritage Book series.
She also helped bring the "Adopt a Highway Initiative" to the county, restore the old jail and transform the old Rock School into the Bowen Center for the Arts.
"One of the reasons I helped found the historical society is that I felt like all of the new might wash away the old, and it didn't need to be washed away," she said. "So I got people together through the Woman's Club and called a meeting ... and they thought we ought to have one ... and hopefully it'll last a while."
After starting the historical society, Taylor said she continued working to improve the county.
"Helen and her husband were instrumental in taking the old Rock School from a closed school to the wonderful art center it is today," said Pat Cavanaugh, president of the Bowen Center for the Arts
"Helen still, in all of her other involvements, is a regular attendee for all of the functions at the center and continues to greatly appreciate the arts."
According to those that have worked alongside her for years, it's her attitude and perseverance that inspire the community.
"One of her many talents is ... getting the right people involved at the right time, at the right moment," said Jane Graves, representing the Dawson County Homeowners and Civic Association. "One could blame that on her love of history, experience in educating children, guiding and coaching.
"Helen is an expert of sharing in passing on her great store of wisdom, advice, knowledge and encouragement."
But for Taylor, it's not about her. Instead, she chooses to remember family and friends, both past and present, who have helped shape the county for what it is today.
"This isn't Helen Taylor Day. It is Helen and Morris Taylor Day," she said. "I thank God I married not only into Morris' family, but into Dawson County as well."