Craig named citizen of the year (l-r): Chamber Director Amberle Godfrey, Sheriff Donnie Craig with wife, Tina, and children, Ashley and Tyler at the Chamber’s Winter Ball Saturday at the Tate House.
Sheriff Donnie Craig was named the Pickens Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year at the business group’s Winter Ball Saturday at the Tate House. Bojangles won Business of the Year and Michelle Logan was named as the group’s Ambassador of the Year.
Nominating the sheriff and introducing him Saturday was Jody Weaver, a longtime friend and employee of the sheriff’s office. Weaver said, “[Donnie Craig] has forged relationships, and earned the respect of countless fellow citizens. Though he possesses many attributes that have been key to his success in our community, it is his ‘servant’s heart’ that I believe earned him the honor of being selected as our 2019 Pickens County Citizen of the Year.”
Damon Howell / Photo
Bojangles top business (l-r): Roger Stroupe, district manager; Rhonda Stroupe, field catering manager; Regina Camp, marketing & catering manager; Kristal and Scott Beaver, franchisees; and not pictured is Kandice Lee, general manager.
Weaver referenced the words “Determined to Make a Difference” on the side of every sheriff’s vehicle, which he said is not just a motto but the “mindset” of their agency.
Among some of the sheriff’s specific achievements noted by Weaver:
•Instrumental in opening the animal shelter in 2011;
•In 2018, his partnership with the Georgia Public Safety Training Center brought a satellite training campus to Pickens County;
•Craig has been instrumental in bringing Active Shooter training to our schools, churches and local businesses; better preparing both our Deputies and citizens on how to properly respond to an active shooter situation;
•Through the sheriff’s foundation, which he founded, more than $500,000 has been distributed to support countless charitable causes and organizations;
•Through JeepFest, he has helped put Pickens County on the map the first weekend of September for several years, increasing tourism while bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds to help those in need.
Weaver said on a personal level, “[Sheriff Craig] is a man of authenticity, compassion, loyalty and forgiveness. Every day that I have the privilege to work alongside him, I am challenged to be a better person; a kinder, more thoughtful citizen. Because of him, I have reached goals and dreams that I never thought were possible.”
In later remarks, Craig said he was very humbled by the award and wanted it known he had not achieved those things alone.
“I am very appreciative of this award and it encourages me to work even harder,” he said. “I absolutely know I couldn’t have done these things alone. I am grateful to have had the community support behind us. We couldn’t have done it without everyone working together.”
Bojangles owner Kristal Beaver was not available on the night of the Winter Ball. Her award was accepted on her behalf by employee Regina Camp.
"What a great honor it is to receive this award,” Beaver said later. “On behalf of our entire team at Jasper Bojangles, we would like to thank the community for their continuous support, and Pickens County Chamber of Commerce. Thank you for entrusting our family to serve yours. We look forward to what God has in store for our community partners in 2019 and we will assist in every way possible."