Photo by Brian Giandelone
CONYERS -- A spirit of selflessness is alive and well in Rockdale County, as the Rockdale Coalition of Children and Families presented its community service award and scholarship award this past weekend.
The Coalition presented its first annual F. William Hughey Community Service Award and first annual John K. Morgan Community Service Scholarship during an awards reception Feb. 26 at Rockdale Career Academy.
Local residents Mike and Nadine Yoder received the community service award. The couple was recognized for their work overseeing a community clothes closet in the Lakeview community, developing the new Family Promise church network to serve homeless families, and a list of other services. As part of their award, the Yoders received $500 to go toward a nonprofit organization of their choice. The Yoders chose Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale.
Salem High School senior Sonca Pham was the scholarship recipient. She was recognized for numerous service events and programs in and out the counties, including participation in the Empty Stocking Fund since 2006 and volunteering at the Nancy Guinn Library in the Youth Services Department.
The scholarship fund is being financed by a December 2009 donation made by the scholarship's namesake, John K. Morgan. Morgan was the Coalition's first board president in 1997 and CEO of Acuity Brands, Hutcheson explained. Morgan made the undisclosed donation in honor of the retirement of Bill Hughey, who served as executive director from 1999 to 2009.
Hughey and Morgan both attended the event and spoke to the audience before the award and scholarship presentations. Gaye Smith, executive director of the Georgia Family Connection Partnership, also had remarks.
Coalition executive director Michael Hutcheson said he was pleased with the inaugural event and described it as a great event that was well-attended.
"It's not just giving an award to a certain select individuals but to encourage people to be involved in community service," Hutcheson said.
He added a lot of attendees said they were pleased that so many people were involved in the community.
As a surprise gesture from John Morgan, Hutcheson said the five scholarship finalists also received an award. Each finalist received $500 to go toward their educational expenses.
The evening began with a musical presentation from the Memorial Middle School jazz band under the direction of Gerald Dailey. Culinary students from the Rockdale Career Academy catered the food.