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2 praised for lifetime achievement at Deen Day Smith banquet
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    Two Statesboro community members, each  with long histories of doing for others, were honored at Tuesday night’s Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards gala  - retired Bulloch County sheriff Arnold Ray Akins and Bulloch Telephone office manager Cecile Boulineau.
    James Eli Hodges introduced Akins first.
    “Because of one man’s influence,  Bulloch County is home to a number of extraordinary public safety officials who were inspired by this man’s integrity,” he said. “A leader and a teacher ... (he) made a tremendous impact on the community not only through his many years of public service ...  but through continued involvement in public safety and volunteerism after his retirement.”
    Many grew up knowing Akins and later worked under his influence call him a mentor, he said. “They call him a wise man. They say he is someone they look up to and learn from, and call him a great leader.
    “Many of our community leaders say  this man “ raised” them, and taught them common sense and how to apply their knowledge to real life. Some say he has always had a  fair and decent hand.”
    Akins still stays involved in helping keep people safe, he said. “He still keeps a police scanner  and takes it upon himself to check on his neighbors every evening to make sure all is well. “
    But Akins’  compassion is “not confined to local arenas,” Hodges said, telling the guests how Akins went to Americus when a tornado devastated the area, traveling with a crew that took a three-mile convoy of equipment to help clean up wreckage.
    The team’s efforts  resulted in House Resolution 960 recognizing their work.
    Akins entered the law enforcement field as a Bulloch County Sheriff’s Deputy and advanced to Chief Deputy within four years. Another four years saw him  running for sheriff, and he won, spending  the next 24 years leading the county’s sheriff’s department, opposed only  twice and never undefeated, he said.
    “He is something of a local legend - a piece of Bulloch County history. Almost everyone who knows him has a tale to tell, and our honoree holds their utmost respect to this day.
    Akins’ impact on the community was displayed two years ago when a sign was erected on the property where Bulloch County Public Works, the Bulloch County Jail, Bulloch County Central 911 and Bulloch County Correctional Institute are all located - a site officially known as  the Arnold R. Akins Public Safety Complex, he said.
Boulineau: selfless, “always there.”
    Hodges extolled Boulineau’s virtues as he introduced her next.
    “Compassion for others in times of need, in a variety of ways, is a driving force behind the selflessness of one of tonight’s honorees,” he said.” Her intense involvement in several church committees spills over into activity in a number of charities and causes, keeping this already busy lady on the go as she contributes to the community.”
    People who know Boulineau said she is “ always there for everybody, never says no when asked for a favor, and loves spending  time with her grandchildren,” he said. “She’s the one who always remembers to send cards or flowers, and her friends say her specialty is “ knowing what people need and being there to fill  that need.”
    In addition to working a full time job as Bulloch Telephone’s office manager Boulineau  is an active member and leader in the Silver Lining Club, which “offers respite and rest for care givers of Alzheimer’s patients through planned and supervised activities for those patients, offering care givers a day off to attend to their own needs,” he said.
    She is also actively involved in raising funds for the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Boulineau was named in the past by the American Business Women’s Association as Woman of the Year, he said.
    Her compassion is one of her signature characteristics, he said. “Reaching out  to those in need, specifically those who have lost loved ones, (Boulineau) is the coordinator of her church’s bereavement services, leading six different committees in taking turns providing bereaved families with a meal and support on  the day their loved one is buried,” he said. “Not only does she direct these efforts, she is a provider of food as well.”
    Boulineau teaches Bible study for the Statesboro Primitive Baptist Miriam Agan Sunday School Class; a member of the Mary Martha Circle;  and a member of the Emmaus Community, which means she counsels those seeking spiritual guidance during a prayer walk weekend, an experience she enjoyed herself, he said.
    “This woman is first to respond where there is a need, and has done so selflessly all the while juggling a full time career and being a supportive partner for her husband, who was disabled in an accident 40 years ago,” Hodges said.
    Both Akins and Boulineau were presented with an award and a medal in recognition of their lifetime of service.
    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 489-9414. 
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