An awards banquet sponsored by area businesses and civic clubs to honor local public servants is set for Thursday, Nov. 14, and will culminate with the naming of the Bulloch County Public Servant Outstanding Service Award.
“All of the public servants in Statesboro that work for us every day need to be recognized for the outstanding things they do in the community,” said Bird Hodges, who helps organize the banquet. “It’s not only saving lives or putting out fires, but it’s the extraordinary things they do on their off time or while they’re working.”
Hodges said the event started around 1980 as a public service dinner, but has evolved into an awards banquet. The first overall award was presented for the first time in 2018.
He said that local branches of public service nominate someone out of their department to be their award winner, including the Statesboro Police Department, the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Medical Services, the Bulloch County Fire Department, 911, GBI and the Georgia State Patrol.
After the nominees are selected, Hodges said retired public servants vote for the overall award.
“We have three retirees — Charles Sikes of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Jackie Stringer of the fire department and Stan York, retired chief of police department — vote on the one recipient for the public service award of the year for Bulloch County,” Hodges said.
Last year, Bulloch County sheriff’s Lt. Tracy Miller was named the first recipient of the award.
But current public servants aren’t the only ones recognized at the event.
“We also give out a plaque for anybody that’s lost their life, whether they’re retired or active,” he said. “And then we also recognize the ones that are detached to the military.”
Hodges believes all the work of public servants should be honored.
“Whether it’s the DARE projects, child abuse prevention, sex trafficking, whatever it may be, we just feel like we need to recognize them every year,” he said.
Hodges said about 35 businesses and two civic clubs pitch in to help with the event, and Ellis Meat Company actually provides the meal.
The banquet will be held at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairgrounds and will begin at 6 p.m., and is open to all Bulloch County public servants.