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Cagle speaks of inspiration
Casey Cagle mug
Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle

Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle recalled times of inspiration and fond memories of his football days at Georgia Southern University Tuesday night at the 2014 Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards gala held at the university's Nessmith-Lane Conference Center.

The 26th annual invitation-only gala honored 25 area residents for their kindness, generosity and compassion for others.

Cagle, a successful entrepreneur and respected former state senator, made history in 2006 by becoming the first Republican ever elected to Georgia's second highest office.

He spoke of how Statesboro and Georgia Southern change every time he visits, but noted one thing remains the same: the caring dedication of community members who strive to make a difference while staying out of the limelight.

Deen Day Service to Mankind Award recipients have "a big heart, a loving heart, doing for others without asking for anything in return," he said.

The name of the awards banquet, in honor of renowned humanitarian Deen Day Smith, is "fitting," he said. The annual recognition is a good thing for "a community of so many individuals who are truly selfless, and have a true desire to serve."

Cagle learned a great deal about life and giving from his mother, who instilled in him the values of hard work, dedication and an enduring love for God.

These values continue to sustain him to this day. A talented athlete, Cagle graduated from Johnson High School and attended Gainesville College and Georgia Southern University. A sports injury ended his dreams of playing college football, but he said legendary coach Erk Russell also made a tremendous impact on his life.

Recognized by James Magazine as one of the most influential Georgians, Cagle is one of only four public servants nationwide to receive the 2007 Champion for Charters Award. He has been recognized by various national and state groups for his support of small businesses.

Cagle serves as vice chairman of the One Georgia Authority, vice chairman of the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission, and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association. He has also been named a member of the Aspen-Rodell Fellowship for Public Leadership.
Recalling another inspiring moment in his life that helped form his desire to help others, especially young citizens, Cagle spoke of being a high school football player when his coach encouraged him to attend FCA camp in Black Mountain. His family did not have the $500 it would cost, so he went to his pastor to seek advice on how to raise the money. He said he wasn't going to ask the church for money, but the pastor told his wife to write him a check for $500.

Cagle told the crowd the gesture has stuck with him ever since and inspired him after he became lieutenant governor to start a charity to help children from single-parent families attend FCA camp.

Since the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards were established in 1989, more than 800 Bulloch County residents have been recognized as benevolent people who place others before themselves and perform acts of kindness for the sake of the recipient and not for personal gain.

Tuesday night's banquet also recognized five lifetime achievement recipients who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to helping others, as well as the 2014 Statesboro Herald Humanitarian of the Year.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.


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