The 30th Annual Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards banquet was graced by the presence of the lady for whom the exclusive event is named – Deen Day Smith Sanders, who have the keynote speech
Held Tuesday evening in the ballroom of Georgia Southern University’s Nessmith-Lane Continuing Education building, the invitation-only event has recognized almost 1,000 citizens since its inception in 1989, touting their accolades for improving the community through dedication to charitable organizations, filling community needs, putting others before themselves and practicing benevolence.
The awards were named for Sanders, known for her own lifetime of serving others, giving financially as well as of her own time and effort.
In speaking to guests Tuesday night, Sanders reminded everyone of the importance of their words.
She praised Statesboro, giving credit to its residents for making her namesake awards gala exceptional.
“The people of Statesboro are so genuine, and that is why I enjoy visiting so much,” she said, adding that she loves to drive around town to see he beauty in how Statesboro has preserved history.
“When I come here, I reach out to my roots,” she said.
Comparing life 30 years ago to life today she pondered over what life will be like 30 years from now, but reminded everyone that words are immortal and cannot be unspoken.
Words should be used to “build others up, encourage them,” she said. “Use words that are fitly spoken – when you talk to people, use the right words.”
Sanders also praised the award recipients for teamwork. “for taking the ‘me’ and turning that ‘m’ upside down to make a ‘w’ for ‘we,” she said.
After she ended her speech, Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar presented Sanders with the key to the city.
The awards banquet is followed by an invitation-only coffee this morning at Pittman Park United Methodist Church honoring all recipients.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.