Outgoing Chamber Chairman Lorraine Harrison, right, presents the Volunteer of the Year Award to Diane Adoma, who spearheaded the Chamber's Shop the Rock program.
CONYERS -- Former Chief Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation received the A.R. "Gus" Barksdale Lifetime Achievement Award Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce.
Considered to be the most prestigious award in Rockdale County, the Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented annually since 1987 to an individual or group that has positively impacted the community in an ongoing basis.
Nation was presented the award by Wales Barksdale, son of the award's namesake. Nation retired in December after serving in various legal and judicial capacities in Rockdale County since 1970. Nation worked as a young attorney in the firm of Vaughn and Barksdale. He went on to serve as county attorney for six years and as the first State Court judge in Rockdale before being elected as a Superior Court judge. He served five terms as Superior Court judge and retired as the chief judge.
He recalled Tuesday that, as a high school student in Greensboro, he had a history teacher who often said, "The fruits of the present are the roots of the past." Nation said the hundreds of Chamber members and supporters gathered Tuesday at the Carriage Room at the Georgia International Horse Park represented the fruits of those who had worked to build the community. He praised the Chamber and encouraged members and staff to continue their work for the community.
Other annual awards presented by the Chamber included the Education Partner of the Year Award, given to the Rotary Club of Rockdale County for members' efforts to restore flagpoles, donate citizenship awards, conduct book drives, read to students and provide gift certificates to schools and students, among other accomplishments. Ashley Roesler, president of the club, accepted the award from Deborah Armstrong, who accepted the award in 2012 on behalf of Rockdale Medical Center.
The Community Spirit Award, which is given to an individual who enhances the quality of life in the community, was presented to Dr. Fred Hedrick, who was recognized for his support for numerous local organizations, such as Rockdale Emergency Relief, the Rockdale Educational Foundation, the Kim Atkins Foundation, United Way, the Boys and Girls Club, and many others. Hedrick's is also the founding dental practice for Mercy Heart, a health care provider for under-insured and uninsured residents.
"He is an example to all of us," said presenter Betty Straw Brown.
Hedrick was unable to attend the luncheon. Darlene Hotchkiss, who works with Hedrick, accepted the award on his behalf.
The Chamber's Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Diane Adoma in recognition for being the "driving force" behind the Chamber's Shop the Rock campaign to promote buying local. Last year's recipient Brandi Wells presented the award.