Citizen of the Year: Barron honored as 2014 winner
by Wes Mayer
Newnan businessman and civic worker Frank Barron was named the 2014 Coweta Citizen of the Year at a gala banquet Thursday at the Coweta County Fairgrounds conference center.
“This community is the best in the world,” Barron told the crowd, “and that is what makes this award so special. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”
The annual gala was hosted by the Newnan, Grantville, Coweta County and White Oak Golden K Kiwanis Clubs of Coweta County. Choosing from a number of nominations submitted by friends, family and fans, past Coweta County citizens of the year selected six outstanding Cowetans as this year’s finalists — Frank Barron, Candace Boothby, Ruby E. Hines, Earlene Strickland Scott, Walter Thompson and Alison Wallace.
The Citizen of the Year recognition program dates to 1992. Previous Citizens of the Year are Bill Williams, Scott Wilson, Joe Crain Sr., Mike Barber, Lindsey Barron, Sally Bowen, Jim Hardin, Dennis McEntire, Don Phillips, Bill Loftin, Bernie Parks, Harold Barron, Gene Tyre, Bill Headley, Willie Boyd, Bobby Welch, Robin Tornow, Don Chapman, Annie Joe Berkowitz, Blake Bass, Steve Mader and Bette Hickman.
Close to 250 members of local organizations, clubs, businesses and the community attended the gala at the fairgrounds conference center to see who would be awarded one of Coweta County’s highest honors. The night was hosted by Coweta Kiwanis Club member Nancy Walden, who introduced the nominees. Certificates of appreciation were presented to each nominee by Bette J. Hickman, the 2013 Coweta Citizen of the Year.
Before handing out the certificates, the Kiwanis Clubs presented a video commemorating the past Coweta citizens of the year. The video, “CITIZEN — A Short Documentary,” includes interviews with the winners and their reactions to the nominations — it was produced by Jonathan and Maggie Hickman and can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/86078587.
The nominees were then honored in alphabetical order. Barron, a native of Coweta County and co-owner of Lindsey’s Realty in Newnan, was recognized for his leadership roles throughout the county and involvement in First Baptist Church of Newnan, the Newnan Kiwanis Club, development of the Coweta County Fairgrounds, with the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce building and the local YMCA.
Boothby, president of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce, was nominated for her many accomplishments leading to the Chamber’s five-star accreditation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Hines, current president of the Grantville Kiwanis Club and chair of the former Grantville Recreation Committee, was honored for her 43 years of service as secretary of Moreland Elementary School and for her admirable life growing up in Coweta County.
Scott, retired owner of the former Scott’s Book Store in downtown Newnan, was praised for her novel and risky business career — being one of the first women to own and operate her own business in Coweta County. Scott retired in March 2013 after 36 years of running the store.
Thompson, president of the Newnan Rotary Club, was appreciated for his leadership of the Community Work Day program at First United Methodist Church of Newnan along with his service in the county through Rotary — especially planning the annual Newnan and Coweta fireworks shows for the Fourth of July held annually at Drake Stadium.
Wallace, who runs the local non-profit organization Bridging the Gap, was admired for her organization’s efforts to feed hundreds of people in need every week in Coweta County.
“I appreciate all their fine help in the community,” Barron said. “They all worked so hard to make this community great. …We are all so blessed to be in Coweta County. This is the highest honor.”
After winning the award, Barron was quick to honor the five other nominees and spread his thanks to his family past and present, his co-workers and friends and his church — most of all, he wanted to thank his wife, who provided him with a wonderful family.
Afterward, Steve Mader, 2012 Coweta Citizen of the Year, took the stand to thank all the members of the community in attendance, and presented the three “royalty” of the annual event — Annie Joe Berkowitz, Louise Davis and Dr. Lucy Hayden — with flowers.
“I suggest there are no better despots than these three,” Mader said. “There are the true heart and soul of this event.”