In honoring two dozen citizens who received awards during the 25th Annual Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards Tuesday night, WTOC-TV’s vice president and general manager, Dr. Bill Cathcart described them as noble volunteers who followed “proud, selfless American tradition.”
The kind and compassionate acts the recipients commit voluntarily throughout their lives “may ease the burdens (of those they serve) for one day or many,” he said.
Volunteerism and selflessness are “to plant trees under whose shade you do not intend to sit,” he said. People such as the ones receiving awards Tuesday night “cultivate positive, possibly life-changing outcomes.”
Doing for others reflects “traditional American values” that may be the result of “a later awakening from life’s lessons learned.”
Qualities of a true volunteer include “honesty, decency, responsibility and spirituality,” he said. These recipients have “the courage to chase what is right, no matter the inconvenience, no matter the sacrifice… (volunteerism) is the very essence of good character.”
He closed his speech with the Cherokee tale of the battle between two wolves living inside every person — one evil, one good. When a young boy asked his grandfather which wolf won, the grandfather replied, “The one you feed.”
Cathcart has worked with the Savannah-based television station for 28 years, the last 23 as the station’s vice president and general manager.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Cathcart received his undergraduate degree from Hope College in Holland, Mich., and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Ohio State University. He then spent 10 years as a professor at Western Illinois University.
In almost three decades of living in Savannah area, Cathcart has been involved in helping the community, including continuing service on the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, where he’s a past chairman; serving as current Military Affairs Council chair; the current chairman of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum Board of Trustees; serves as Honorary Wing Commander of the Georgia Air National Guard’s 165th Airlift Wing; and has been named Honorary “Night Stalker” by the 3/160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Most recently, he was selected to be the first civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army for Coastal Georgia.
The 2013 Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards was held in the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center at Georgia Southern University. The invitation-only gala is hosted by the Statesboro Herald and sponsored by many local businesses and individuals.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.