Three dynamic citizens, all former recipients of the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards, were honored once again Tuesday night at the 25th Annual Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards gala held at Georgia Southern University’s Nessmith-Lane Conference Center.
Former award recipient Billy Hickman introduced the recipients.
“For years, our community has looked to them for guidance and assistance,” he said.
Hickman first introduced Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Raybon Anderson.
“As one of Statesboro’s most humble businessmen, this Lifetime Achievement Award recipient has devoted most of his life to helping others, through business, social and civic endeavors,” he said. “For more than 45 years he has had a hand in many local projects, but never failed to reserve a day in the week for private fellowship and prayer with a group of peers.”
Anderson’s handshake “means a great deal,” and along with that of former Statesboro Mayor Hal Averitt “has meant a lot for Statesboro and Bulloch County.”
Anderson has served as a member and former director of both the Statesboro Rotary Club and Forest Heights Country Club; has been a past chairman of the Bulloch County Hospital Authority, a past director of First Bulloch Bank and Trust, and served on both the Statesboro-Bulloch County Development Authority and Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce. He has also served on the Averitt Foundation of the Arts.
“Under his leadership when he served as a county commissioner, Bulloch County hired its first county manager and voted for its first Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax,” Hickman said. “He has been a driving force behind industrial progress, and helped recruit Wal-Mart Distribution, Briggs and Stratton, and Viracon to Bulloch County.
“In the midst of what seems to be a full-time dedication to serving others, he still finds time for family … often you may find him fishing and hunting with his family or involved in his grandchildren’s activities.”
Anderson has received numerous honors, including the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Award in 1993 and the Statesboro Herald Humanitarian of the Year in 2008. He was named Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year in 1995.
In 2003, Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed him to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Board, and in 2005, he was appointed to the Georgia Department of Transportation Board.
“Perhaps his most significant impact on Bulloch County agribusiness occurred in 1963 when he founded Bulloch Fertilizer Inc., offering farmers new and innovative options in the farming industry.”
“This … award goes to one with an exceptionally long history of serving others,” Billy Hickman said as he introduced Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Keith Hickman.
“He embodies the type of self-effacing kindness, generosity and compassion common to the long list of Lifetime Achievement Award recipients,” Billy Hickman said. “He is an active member of the Statesboro Kiwanis Club and committed to the services the club performs in our community. He is first to sign up for the club’s Saturday work days and serves on the public relations committee. In fact, whenever Kiwanians gather, he is there, camera at the ready to record the event.
“In all aspects of his service to the community, he is as reliable as the sun coming up in the morning. As president of the Food Bank, he attends all functions and works hand-in-hand with Second Harvest, United Way and the multitude of volunteers from Georgia Southern.
“He has been a faithful member of Pittman Park United Methodist Church for the past 45 years. He serves as a greeter and an usher and is a regular helper with Back Pack Buddies, where he is part of packing and delivering food for 76 children every week.
Keith Hickman “is a gentleman who always goes the extra mile, makes the extra effort, looks out for those in distress and gives generously of his time and talent,” Billy Hickman said. “And he does so always with a humble heart.”
As he introduced the third Lifetime Achievement Award, Barbara Martin, Billy Hickman shared praise from her co-workers.
“About this amazing lady, a friend says, ‘It is rare in this world that you meet someone that always puts others ahead of themselves. She is one of those rare individuals,’” Hickman said.
Martin is “83 years old (and) still works part-time in the radiology department of East Georgia Regional Medical Center and has no intention of slowing down. In fact, she gets up early each morning to bake treats for the doctors and staff at the hospital.
“She has influenced the lives of her children and grandchildren in such a positive way by setting a wonderful example of a true, Southern Christian lady,” Hickman said. “She loves their animals, as well, stopping by her daughter’s house each weekday to play with her pets while she’s at work.”
Martin “sees needs that most people are too busy to stop and recognize,” Hickman said. “Every Friday, she visits a friend at Willow Pond who has no family in the area … recently, a woman just widowed in the community had no one to turn to because she was too embarrassed to ask how to pay bills. This Lifetime Achievement Award recipient stepped forward and spent numerous hours helping her friend balance her checkbook and get her life organized.”
As a breast cancer survivor, Martin is actively involved with the American Cancer Society and helps coordinate monthly survivor meetings. She is an active member of First Baptist Church, where she teaches Sunday School, sings in the choir and making all feel welcome.
“She has loved like the Bible tells us – unconditionally to others,” Hickman said.
“She has brightened the days of so many people through the years. She is truly a woman who gets total joy from serving others and her kindness has changed countless lives in her 83 years.”
The recipients were awarded a special plaque and medal as well as other gifts.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.