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Middle Georgia community public servants honored for their commitment

Larry Smallwood, the former chief of fire prevention at the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department, right center, receives the Georgia State Fire Inspector of the Year award from Governor Brian Kemp on Tuesday.
Larry Smallwood, the former chief of fire prevention at the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department, right center, receives the Georgia State Fire Inspector of the Year award from Governor Brian Kemp on Tuesday. Special to The Telegraph

A career firefighter, Houston County students and two preservationists have been honored for their achievements.

Larry Smallwood, who worked for the Macon-Bibb Fire Department for more than 40 years, received the Georgia State Fire Inspector of the Year award at the Georgia State Firefighter Recognition Day, an annual event hosted by the Georgia State Firefighters Association.

Smallwood, the former chief of fire prevention, traveled to Atlanta to receive the award from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

“It was exciting going up to the State Capitol... and getting an award from the governor,” Smallwood said. “It’s an honor and it’s something that I’ve worked for.”

Smallwood said he had a long career with the fire department serving as a firefighter, an inspector and an investigator.

“I’ve been everything,” he said with a laugh.

Although Smallwood is retired, he said he never got out of the fire prevention business, and he has no plans to hang up his helmet.

“I stay involved with it, and I will, as long as I can,” he said.

Houston County students

Several Houston County students made notable achievements including winning the county spelling bee, being named the STAR student and being selected for the All-State Chorus.

The Houston County Board of Education 2019 Spelling Bee was held on Feb. 1, and Morningside Elementary School student Olivia Sims won first place with Northside Middle School student Lydia Emery placing second. Both students will advance to the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) District 6 regional bee at Fort Valley State University on Feb. 23, according to a release.

Houston County High School senior Tien Tran was named the 2019 System Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) Student for Houston County, according to a release. He chose Laura Byrd as his STAR teacher.

Tran and Byrd will move on to compete at 12 STAR Regions, according to the release.

The Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) selected students for All-State Chorus, the highest honor for a choral student, and 56 were from Houston County schools, according to a release.

Outstanding preservationists

Two Middle Georgians will be honored at the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 35th annual Preservation Gala on March 2, according to a press release.

Bonnie Dowling, of Macon, owns Bonnie Dowling Interiors, and she has worked to preserve old buildings, such as the Hay House, according to the release. She is a Georgia Trust Emeritus Trustee, and she received the Trust’s Camille W. Yow Volunteer of the Year Award in 2007 and 2011.

Charlie Garbutt, of Dublin, founded Garbutt Construction, which focuses on rehabilitating historic properties, according to the release. The 40-year-old company has received more than 19 awards for its preservation efforts.

Jenna Eason is a multimedia reporter at The Telegraph and creates serviceable news around food, culture and people who make a difference in the Macon community. Jenna joined The Telegraph staff after graduating from Mercer University in May 2018 with a journalism degree.
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