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Chris Yaughn named Humanitarian of the Year
Man behind Fostering Families Bulloch humbled by recognition
Chris Yaughn gets a hug from Julie Anderson after being named Humanitarian of the Year during the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards on Tuesday at Georgia Southern University's Nessmith-Lane Conference Center. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

The man behind Fostering Families Bulloch, Chris Yaughn, held true to his introduction Tuesday night as he accepted the 2016 Statesboro Herald Humanitarian of the Year award during the 28th Annual Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards gala.

The invitation-only event was held at Georgia Southern University's Nessmith-Lane Conference Center, with Georgia first lady Sandra Deal giving the keynote address.

Billy Hickman, a past Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Award recipient, announced Yaughn's honor, telling the crowd that Yaughn "does not enjoy speaking about his accomplishments."

"He is humble and does not seek attention, preferring instead to give credit to others, even when he is the driving force behind numerous charitable acts and endeavors," he said.

True to that statement, Yaughn was brief in his speech after receiving the award.

"He becomes emotional when talking about his passion, which is helping children in need," Hickman said. "He loves kids and wants to help them all."

Yaughn admitted sometimes becoming emotional when discussing his mission.

"If you don't get so fired up you cry a little bit, you're wasting your energy," he said. "We all have moments when we think what we do doesn't matter. Don't believe it. Don't stop doing (what you do for others) for nothing."

Hickman said Yaughn and his wife "have opened their homes and hearts to countless children without homes or supportive parents."

"When they learned of a great need in Bulloch County for someone to help these children, they began taking steps to fill that need," he said.

Yaughn launched the nonprofit organization in 2010, starting by collecting clothing donations for "foster kids who leave unfortunate situations with only the clothes they are wearing," Hickman said.

"This man and his family sort the donated clothes in his own living room, load them into a covered trailer and take them to foster parents caring for these children.

"His involvement grew into a mission where he shares the love of Christ with children in crisis situations," Hickman continued. "His efforts reach children and adults in Bulloch and surrounding counties, as well as 30 or more other nonprofits and churches in our area. Through his efforts, large numbers of people in need have received clothing, furniture, plumbing services, electrical services, transitional housing and even prom dresses a time or two."

Yaughn "is a fervent supporter and force behind current development of a 30-acre campsite for foster children and those at risk," a partnership with Broken Shackle Ranch, Hickman said.

"He does not hold official membership in civic organizations, yet devotes time and work to a multitude of causes that help others. His generosity and compassion have touched almost every charity in Bulloch County. If he sees a need, this man is always reaching out to do what he can to make a difference."

Yaughn and his family have held cookouts for foster parents at his home and organized outings for foster children to the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair. He is a past recipient of the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Award in 2012, was recognized as one of Bulloch County's 20 Under 40 and was presented the American Red Cross Youth Hero Award. He is also on Gov. Deal's homeless committee for Georgia.

"This man enjoys hunting and fishing with his kids - four of his own and countless others he has taken under his wing," Hickman said. "He is a Southeast Bulloch High School graduate who played baseball and was in the band. He later graduated from Georgia Southern University. He and his family attend Beth Yeshua Congregation in Macon."

He called Yaughn "the lifeblood of Fostering Families Bulloch."

Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.



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