TIFTON -- The Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce honored some of Tift County's highest achievers Thursday night at its annual meeting and banquet held at ABAC's Donaldson Dining Hall.

Dr. Thomas D. Meredith, the chancellor of the University System of Georgia, was the guest speaker for the event. Meredith, who was introduced by Regent John Hunt, took office last year. He spent most of his day in Tifton at Abraham Baldwin College.

Also, chamber chairman William Bowen handed over the gavel to the 2003 chairman Bill Richardson, the CEO of Tift Regional Medical Center.

Wall of Fame

Three new names were added to the chamber's Wall of Fame.

Henry Bostick -- A long-time state legislator, Bostick has been active in civic affairs in Tifton for many years. He served 26 years over a period of five decades in the Georgia House of Representatives and was instrumental in making transportation improvements a reality, including the construction of U.S. Highway 82 and the reconstruction of Interstate 75 in the Tift County area.

For 36 years, Bostick served as Clerk of Superior Court, Municipal County Judge and Solicitor of State Court. He is the only person in Georgia history to have served as Clerk of the Superior Court and as a member of the House of Representatives simultaneously.

A native of Tifton, Bostick served in the U.S. Navy for four years, including three years in the Pacific. He is married to Elizabeth Turner and they have five children.

G.O. Bailey - Bailey came to Tifton in 1927 as principal and athletic director and within three years, was named Superintendent of Tifton Schools. He remained in that position for 27 years and later served as Dean of Norman Park College.

Very active in civic affairs, Bailey was a charter member and president of the Lions Club of Tifton, as well as District President. He was also a member of the Kiwanis Club, Tift County Red Cross, and the Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of First Baptist Church, where he taught Sunday School for 60 years.

G.O. Bailey School was named in his honor and he was named the Outstanding Alumnae of the University of Georgia in 1986. Bailey died in 1989, 12 years after the passing of his wife, Hazel. They had two children, Holly Bailey Hall of Tifton and Herbert Humber Bailey of Mobile, Ala.

Gene Brodie - The late Tift County High head football coach and athletic director Gene Brodie is largely responsible for putting Tifton on the high school athletic map.

Arriving in Tifton in the spring of 1976, it took Brodie and his staff just three short years before the Tift County High Blue Devils were playing for the state football championship. Although the Devils fell short of the championship that year, Brodie had the Tift team back in the title game in 1983 where they defeated LaGrange High 59-6 in what was one of the most lop-sided championship games in the state's history.

The title was Brodie's second as a head coach as he had led the Central-Macon Chargers to a state title in 1975.

A native of Kitchings Mill, South Carolina, Brodie was a member of the high school basketball, baseball and track teams. However, his high school did not offer football so he was given special permission to play at nearby Wagener High. "The first football game I ever saw was the one I played in," Brodie said. Brodie was a three-sport letterman while attending the University of Tennessee/Martin.

Brodie retired following the 1993 season with more than 130 wins as the Blue Devils head coach. He died in May, 2002. He is survived by his wife Ginger, two daughters Gena and Stacey, his son Brooks and three grandchildren -- Brodie Cooper, Robby and Amy.

Stafford Award

Roger Dill - An expert in the field of creating economic development opportunities, Dill is the 31st recipient of the Stafford Award, honoring the community leader whose contribution to economic development for a minimum of three years surpasses all others.

Dill has also played a major role in the growth and improvement at the Georgia Agrirama, where he se

rves as the chairman of the Georgia Agrirama Authority. He was an engineer with the Department of Transportation for 20 years out of the Tifton office before joining the Scruggs Company in 1980. He joined Reeves Construction Company in 1984, where he served as president and chairman of the board. He is now self-employed as a consultant.

Dill has been active in the Tifton community for over 40 years and is a graduate of Irwin County High School and Auburn University. He served on the board and as president of Spring Hill Country Club, past president and board member of the Tift County Recreation Department, served as a Georgia High School Football Official for 25 years and is on active on the Chamber Transportation committee.

Dill has been married to his wife Joann for 44 years and they have one daughter and two grandsons.

Athena Award

Bertha Daniel - Since returning to Tifton almost a decade ago, Daniel has been one of the most active volunteers and community leaders in the area. An ABAC graduate, Daniel began her career as a probation officer and is now Director of College Services at ABAC.

Daniel also serves as president of the Tifton Rotary Club, is a former president and current board member of PLIGHT, Inc., a board member of the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence and the Tift County Library Board of Directors.

Daniel is also very involved with Shiloh Baptist, serving as the church treasurer and financial secretary and president of the usher board.

Daniel has one child, Gaea Daniel.

J. Lamar Branch Award

Lee Honeycutt - Honeycutt is the Director of Occupational Medicine for Tift Regional Medical Center's WorkSmart Clinic, which provides medical services for local employers. In this role, he has proven to be a valuable liaison between the medical community and business and industry.

Honeycutt has served as an ambassador with the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce, where he served as chairman and board member and is now serving as vice-chair of Membership Services on Executive Board. This year, he was chairman of the Chamber Golf Classic.

He is married to the former Marci Moore, who teaches autistic children at Northside Primary School and they have two children, Hunter and Madison.

Ambassador of the Year

Billy Grafius - The Ambassador of the Year should have been no surprise to members of the group. Each month, the group selects an Ambassador of the Month and last year, Grafius was selected for that honor for six of the 12 months.

Grafius is an account representative for Quality Employment Service. Last year, he brought back surveys to the chamber board that have provided feedback on how the chamber could better serve the area.

The Ambassadors are a group of 25 businessmen and women who serve as hosts at different chamber events throughout the year and who solicit and encourage prospective new members as well as supporting member retention.

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