The 19th Annual Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards gala Tuesday night spotlighted 25 area citizens who are known for their compassion, dedication to helping others and tireless giving.
The awards banquet, hosted by the Statesboro Herald and other local sponsors, has honored more than 700 Bulloch County citizens since its inception. Tuesday night's event was held at Georgia Southern University's Russell Union, with Dr. Michael Braz providing delightful music as guests mingled.
The Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards is named for Deen Day Smith Sanders, whose late husband Cecil B. Day founded Days Inn. Sanders is a renowned humanitarian and has an affinity for butterflies, which prompted her to establish a butterfly conservatory at Callaway Gardens.
The Deen Day Smith Awards butterfly theme was reflected throughout the evening with colorful banners hung from the ceiling, panels with lighted butterflies, and unique touches such as enamel butterfly pins gracing fresh fruit cups; napkin rings fashioned after Monarch butterflies; and butterfly shaped croissants, crackers and after-dinner mints.
Guests enjoyed citrus punch and crackers shaped like fish and butterflies during a reception before the dinner, after which Georgia Southern University football legend Tracy Ham spoke. Then, guests were honored for their service to others in the community.
Twenty citizens were awarded a medal and plaque for having open hearts, open pockets, and endless time and effort in doing for others, with no thought of compensation or reward. The banquet honors people selected from nominations reviewed by a nomination committee, and commends them for their tireless and selfless dedication to the community.
Four citizens were lauded for lifetime achievement, and one special lady, Kathryn Grube, was presented with the 2007 Statesboro Herald Humanitarian of the Year award.
Gold chargers reflected candlelight, arranged with crystal and white china on black tablecloths shot through with metallic threads. The first course was coupe de fruits rafraichais (fresh fruit garnished with a raddicio leaf and enamel butterfly pin served in a crystal goblet).
The next course was salade de Mesclun - mesclun salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing, accented with edible pansy blooms and a butterfly-shaped piece of cheese.
The main course was espadon Arcadienne de la Sauce au Citron - Cajun swordfish steaks with lemon sauce, accompanied by zizanie (wild rice in a tomato cup) and lances d'asperge -steamed asparagus spears. The meal was served with a lemon crow wrapped in yellow tulle, tied with a ribbon.
Butterfly croissants, mounds of spun honey butter and butterfly crackers nestled in silver filigree baskets on beds of bean sprouts rounded out the meal, which was completed by a decadent dessert of mousse de fraise - fresh strawberry mousse served in a pastel chocolate tulip cup, garnished with drops of strawberry sauce, a chocolate butterfly and a rainbow-colored pastel mint.
Noissette - hazelnut coffee - was also served. Guests of honor received gift bags at their seats.
Tracy Ham speaks
First Southern National Bank President Tommy David introduced Tracy Ham, who spoke about how people serve by following the example set by Jesus.
David also told guests how, when members of the Boys and Girls Club learned Ham was to speak during the event, asked him through a letter to visit the club.
Ham did so, taking time to arrive early in order to make an appearance at the club, David said.
"That shows you what kind of guy he is," he said.
Ham said he had been "sitting in church listening to the pastor talk about Jesus" when he began realizing why people serve. "And it dawned on me .. why people give of their time and effort and want no recognition at all. Why do they serve? Why do they do that? It is because of what Jesus did for us."
He said he looked up the word "service" in the dictionary, and among several definitions, found "work done by one person or a group that benefits others ... and act of help or assistance ..."
After his speech, Statesboro Herald President Joe McGlamery introduced 20 2007 Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards recipients.
Four Lifetime Achievement Award recipients were honored next; Julian Deal, Lee Johnson, Jean Mathews and Jean Lanier.
As a finale, the Statesboro Herald Humanitarian of the Year Award was presented to a surprised Kathryn Grube, wife of Georgia Southern University President Dr. Bruce Grube.
Bruce Yawn, the 2001 recipient of the award, presented the award to Kathryn Grube , and said "has been in Statesboro only eight years, but what an impact she has made ..." he said.
"Thank you all so much," Grube said. "I'm certainly not deserving... I am astounded by it. I am humbled by it."