Houston County’s sheriff receives chamber’s highest award

lmorris@macon.comJanuary 16, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS --­ Thursday night’s 64th annual meeting of the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce was an opportunity to recognize outstanding contributors to the community.

About 285 people attended the meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott on Carl Vinson Parkway.

The chamber’s highest award -- the Charlie L. Jones Memorial Award ­-- was presented to Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton, who was first elected sheriff in 1972 after serving as a Houston County commissioner. He oversees about 300 employees and is responsible for the E-911 center in the county.

The award is presented to someone with sustained and superior service to the community, chamber CEO and President Morgan Law said.

Shaw Blackmon, past chamber chairman, said the “highly respected” Talton is described as someone with compassion, humor, humility, wisdom, character and inspiration.

“It is because of these qualities that he has provided our county with security and stability, ... and it is because of these qualities that many of his deeds go unknown,” Blackmon said.

Talton demonstrated some of that humility after accepting the award during a standing ovation.

“This award should have been given to the men and women in the sheriff’s department,” he said. “Anytime I can help you, I will try to help you.”

Chamber Chairman Walter “Randy” Randall emphasized the important of regionalism during his remarks.

“Our elected officials are beginning to embrace regionalism in a big way,” Randall said. “I want to thank the (Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce) and our chamber for embracing regionalism. Businesses and other entities in the future are not going to look at us as separate cities. They are going to look at us as a region.”

The chamber also held the graduation of Leadership Robins Region class during the meeting. The class project was replacing the sign at the entrance of the Museum of Aviation, said Lisa Fruge-Cirilli, a class member. The group not only collected enough money to have a monument-style sign built at the museum’s entrance, but also to add equipment to the museum playground.

Heather Hall with Cox Communications was selected by her leadership classmates to receive the Dr. Dan Callahan Leadership Award.

Other awards presented during the evening include:

• The A.C. “Dick” Walden III Chamber Person of the Year was presented to Christina O’Brien, vice president of risk management at Robins Federal Credit Union.

This award is presented to the chamber member having made the most outstanding contribution to the success of the organization or any one or more of its programs during 2013.

• The Sherrill Stafford Good Government Service Award was given to Ivan Allen, president of Central Georgia Technical College. He was named president of the college in November 2012 prior to the merger in 2013 of Central Georgia Technical College and Middle Georgia Technical College.

This award is in memory of a distinguished public servant and is presented to the community’s most outstanding elected or appointed official or employee of a governmental agency.

• The Edward Bayer Employee of the Year was presented to Hope Hicks, program services coordinator for Houston County Habitat for Humanity. The winner was chosen from among the Outstanding Employee of the Month winners of 2013.

• The Charles K. Shaheen Small Business of the Year was presented to Total Computer Solutions, founded in 1987. The winner is chosen from among the Small Business of the Month winners of 2013, and this award recognizes that the business’ dealings and reputation is above reproach.

• The Heide M. Hubbard Ambassador of the Year was given to Cathy Cotton of State Bank & Trust Co. This award is presented to the chamber ambassador who has made the most outstanding contribution to the success of the chamber in 2013.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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