Recipients of the Statesboro Herald Humanitarian of the Year Award are those persons who provide a wide range of service to the community. It recognizes those whose service and commitment goes above and beyond the normal standards as they make a difference in the lives of others.
This year's recipient has never been one to just donate and forget. He always takes a personal interest in those he helps, taking time to learn more about their unique situations and distinctive needs.
Many business owners understand how to write checks to aid worthy causes and well-intentioned individuals. Some would say, "Making a contribution is just part of the cost of doing business." But our recipient sees beyond the obvious. There is more to this man's heart. He doesn't merely see opportunities to give; he sees how his gifts can make life better for others.
The person we honor tonight is a hands-on giver of his time and talents, too.
He visits the homebound, bringing a smile and cheerful words to uplift their spirits through shared Scripture-reading and uplifting conversations. He speaks at funerals to comfort the bereaved. He seems to know the right words to say when encouragement or advice is what is needed.
Like many others, our honoree is involved in a diverse group of organizations. He is asked to serve on boards and committees because our community knows his advice and leadership will make a significant difference.
The Open Hearts Community Mission for the homeless understands these abilities. The Boys & Girls Club of Statesboro knows our honoree's talents. Safe Haven sees the wisdom of his counsel. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes has a passionate supporter in the person of our honoree. The Statesboro Board of Realtors and the Statesboro Planning Commission have both been well-served by the leadership of the man we honor tonight.
His leadership skills are certainly known by Statesboro First Baptist Church. He serves as a deacon and is past chairman of the board of deacons. He has contributed to many mission trips of his church, too. And he was a driving force behind the new sanctuary construction recently completed at First Baptist.
The director for the GSU Fellowship of Christian Athletes approached our honoree about a donation supporting his ministry. A one hundred dollar check would have been greatly appreciated and very generous, but he didn't write a check. After inquiring about the needs of this ministry and the Christian impact it was having on Georgia Southern athletes, he donated a two bedroom apartment to serve as an office for the ministry and a place to live for the director and his new bride. He did this for 18 months. He doesn't give just as a supplement meeting a need, he gives to make sure needs are taken care of.
Perhaps our honoree is best known, however, for the wonderful things he quietly does for others. One of his long-time employees needed a new suit of clothes in order to attend an important event in his life. Our Humanitarian took this employee of 35 years to a local shop and bought him a suit to wear. He also purchased the man a red pickup truck because the person needed it.
For years, this generous man paid power bills and funded other needs for an acquaintance down on his luck. And once, when a new employee broke a leg in a serious boating accident, he not only paid that employee's medical bills until his insurance became effective, he also provided a helicopter ride from the Caribbean so that employee could heal from his wounds in his home country.
A driving force in Statesboro-area real estate for over 40 years, this man is a member of the Rotary Club of Statesboro, which named him 2012 Citizen of the Year.
This good man possesses the compassion to dream, the ambition to work, the will to lead and the strength to prevail. These are the standards applied to those considered for this award.
We recognize Ray Hendley: one who has achieved all these things and more.