The Monticello-Jasper County Chamber of Commerce announces the Citizen of The Year at their Annual Meeting each year. Nominations open in December and the recipient is announced in January (during the Annual Meeting).
Past Citizens of the Year
1989 Les Steele
1990 Pat Billings
1991 Sybil Ferris
1992 Jeanette Reynolds
1993 Dorothy Thomas
1994 Hollis Lawrence
1995 Jack Yearwood
1996 Thurman L. Willis, Jr.
1997 Merrill Clark
1998 Margaret Jordan
1999 Ed Westbrook
2000 Steve Jordan
2001 Susan D. Holmes
2002 Holsey Tinsley
2003 Linda Jordan
2004 Joan Bell
2005 Grady T. Fuller
2006 Don B. Kelly
2007 Mary Lou Jordan
2008 Rev. Jimmy Horton
2009 David Dyer
2010 Stone Workman
2011 Ann Mercer
2012 Juanita Thompson
2013 Jehan El-Jourbagy
2014 Amy Scroggs
2015 John and Kelly DeGarmo
2016 Tricia Armistead
2017 Janet Davis
2018 Terry McMichael
2019 Michele Celani
Article by The Monticello News
Pam Mayer and Sandra Carter then presented the award for the Citizen of the Year to Michele Celani for her dedication to preserving Jasper County history over the past two years with her work on the Smithsonian Institute project.
“Jasper County is the recipient of her passion and dedication to history,” said Mrs. Mayer of Mrs. Celani while also noting that she raised more than $12,000 in donations for the Smithsonian project.
Mrs. Celani’s work to preserve Jasper County history has earned her a Presidential Citation from the Georgia Historical Society.
“This was an unexpected honor,” said the award recipient fighting back obvious emotions.
“I do not take this honor lightly,” she professed.
Terry McMichael – 2018 Citizen of The Year
Terry McMichael, who created Monticello Kart Racing (MKR) is this year’s recipient of the Monticello-Jasper County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award. The announcement was made at the COC’s annual dinner meeting held Tuesday at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center.
Also at the meeting, Monticello Drugs was named business of the year.
Valorie Mitchell announced that Terry McMichael was the Citizen of the Year.
“The dedication he and his family have shown with Monticello Kart Racing to bring the community together is evident. Mr. Terry organizes, promotes and prepares events to help fill a need to community members. He has grown MKR from a family event to a community event with the expansion of a stand-alone Go-Cart Track,” she said.
“Mr. Terry” was very surprised to receive this deserved award. “Mr. Terry” wants MKR to be a family friendly environment that provides something for families to enjoy.
In the past two years, MKR has given $30,000 to people that need assistance. He also stated that kids at the race track don’t walk around with cell phones in their hands….they walk around with go cart parts. He thanked the MKR staff, community and family for helping him see his vision through and is excited to see what this year holds.
The COC board meets the second Tuesday of each month at noon at the Visitors’ Center on the Square
Article by The Monticello News:
Janet Davis was named Citizen of the Year, and the Bank of Monticello, her employer for many years is Business of the Year. They were named at the Chamber of Commerce annual dinner meeting Tuesday at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center.
“Miss Janet” as she is known to most everyone is th epitome of a true southern lady, said one of the nominees.
“She is kind, gentle, soft spoken, friendly, helpful, generous, thoughtful, caring, hard working, and always has a positive attitude with a smile for everyone. I have never heard her say an unkind word about anyone.
“She loves her community and has shown it through the years by supporting the many activities and events here. I have known Miss Janet all my life and worked alongside her at the Bank of Monticello. She is definitely revered by anyone who has had the pleasure of knowing her or serving with her in one of her numerous areas of involvement.
“Miss Janet’s son, Tommy, said that even her children do not know everything she has accomplished. I will attempt to mention a few of the things I know or have learned about Miss Janet’s service to our community.”
Miss Janet retired from the Bank of Monticello after 36 years of faithful service, then was hired part time and continues to work today 20 years later.
Mrs. Davis worked several part time jobs over the years, including Jasper Memorial Hospital and several local doctors where she typed medical records. She is a long time active member of Monticello Baptist Church, and has served on many committees. Some of the areas she has served include help prepare food for people with a death in the family, helping count the offering and make deposits, teaching Sunday school, leading the Girls Auxiliary (GA’s), and a choir member for many years.
She has volunteered her service in the Chamber of Commerce to answer phones, greet guests, etc. She also nominated Jack Yearwood for Citizen of the Year, and attended many COC annual meetings.
Mrs. Davis served on the local board for the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFACS) for many years, and also has provided transportation for persons to their doctor’s appointments, grocery store, or where ever they needed to go when it was needed.
She is an avid sports fan of the Hurricanes, and a long time member of the Hurricane Club. She is also a fan of the Atlanta Braves and the teams at the recreation department.and of course, any sports her grandchildren and great-grandchildren participate in.
Mrs. Davis also served as a board member of the Jasper County Library and of the local chapter of AARP. She previously served as treasurer at Hunter Pope Country Club.
She served as a chaperone for the youth center that was located behind the old gym behind the old school on College Street (late 1950’s – early 1960’s). She has always been a big supporter of the County Extension Service and its programs.
With everything Mrs. Janet Davis has been’ involved in with the community; you could not find a better ambassador for the COC, Jasper County and the entire region, one nominator said.
Another said, “Janet Davis is one of our citizens who comes in under th radar and seeks to that. Being in the limelight is not one of her goals.
“If we could choose a citizen in our county to be a model of the perfect citizen, it would be Janet.
“All you have to do is to be around her for any length of time and you can watch her do her undercover work—taking people who have no transportation of their own to various places, befriending those who need a friend and companion, and she is always encouraging.”
Mrs. Davis was presented a plaque from the Chamber of Commerce by Don Kelly, Chairman of the Board for the Bank of Monticello. She also received a commendation from the office of Congressman Jody Hice, presented by Carolyn Dallas.
2016 Citizen of the Year
Article by The Monticello News:
Tricia Armistead was named Citizen of the Year by the Monticello-Jasper County Chamber of Commerce at its annual meeting Tuesday. Norton Packaging was selected as business of the year. In letters nominating Ms. Armistead, several qualities showed, particularly her compassion and her love for others. One person wrote that if Ms. Armistead had met the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, she could have given him her heart, because it is so big. Others wrote about the many ways Ms. Armistead opens her arms and the doors of her home to anyone in need, and to so many worthy causes.
Ms. Armistead is very active in Monticello Baptist Church, leading a women’s Bible study, teaching Sunday school and singing in the choir. She hosts parties for church groups in her home whenever an occasion arises. She is a mentor to the young people in the church, and helps the elderly with shopping, visits, and meals. Ms. Armistead has built a reputation hosting the Polar Express each Christmas for the Mercy, Love and Joy fund for needy children at Christmas. Children get a goodie bag, train ride, visit with Santa and photo, and all she asks in return is that the children bring a gift for a needy child. She has hosted this for the last five years, opening her home to all, and funding the entire operation. Last year the Polar Express collected some $3,000.
As one letter said, Tricia has a heart for others. She will not only pray for any need, but takes action whenever she can. When Ms. Armistead hears of a need, she responds, period, the letter said. Ms. Armistead is a role model in so many ways, one wrote, and shows the love of Jesus every chance she gets. One person wrote that when they commented to Ms. Armistead about how helpful she is, she responded, “The Lord has blessed me, and it is my gift to Him to help others.”
Mrs. Pat Whitman was the nominators for Ms. Armistead, and she made the presentation at Monday’s dinner meeting.
DeGarmos Are Named
2015 Co-Citizens of the Year
Drs. John and Kelly DeGarmo were named co-Citizens of the Year by the Monticello-Jasper County Chamber of Commerce last Thursday at the COC’s annual meeting at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center.
The announcement was made by 2014 Citizen of the Year Amy Scroggs. Mrs. Scroggs read the following summation of the nominations received for the DeGarmos to receive the honor:
“We are doing a new thing this evening—we are awarding Co-Citizens of the Year. There was no way to give one of them the award without giving it to the other. But in fact, we are following a precedence set this past summer when an international award was given this duo by a vote of 22,000 of their peers around the world—the Every Day Hero Award given for their outstanding service and efforts to make a positive impact on the world.
“One is a native of Michigan and the other of Australia. They met while performing with the group Up With People and after marrying, somehow found their way to Jasper County. This was almost 20 years ago, and we are an infinitely better place because they and their family live here.
“Here are some of the facts of their lives:
“Both have earned doctorate degrees while raising a family and working full time.
“In addition to their three biological children, they have adopted three additional children that were formerly in their foster care.
“They have fostered at least 45 children in the last 13 years. They open their home and treat those in need who have no control over their young lives with kindness, peace, love, and understanding.
“Both are extremely active in the Monticello Presbyterian Church by serving as Elders, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, committee chairs and members, and founders of the community Father/Daughter Dance at Valentines. Right now they get nine children to Sunday School and church every Sunday morning!
“One loves gardening and the other loves Starbucks coffee.
“One travels across the country to speak at foster parent conferences and social worker trainings, while the other stays home to keep their family going and as well as hundreds of people who could not enjoy their lives without the expertise of this great massage therapist.
“They are huge supporters of this community and every Saturday that it is open finds them at the Market on the Square.
“As the media specialist at Jasper County High School, one started the Gentlemen’s Club and keeps an eye out for students who are in need, especially those who are homeless. The other walks across the street to the Retreat every day and offers words of encouragement and soothing hugs and massages as needed.
“There is a special shelf at a drug store on the Square with all natural remedies for certain aches and pains recommended by this well-educated massage therapist and an article in The Monticello News about fostering each week written by the other.
“Finally, there are books available around town and on-line written by these two together and by one of them alone on fostering children and how to help foster children understand their ‘Different Home.’ The traveler and main author also hosts a popular weekly internet radio show about the state of the foster care system and other topics of interest to those fostering, thinking of fostering, or just wanting to listen to someone entertaining.
“Let’s conclude by looking at their hopes and dreams for the future and what makes people say they have ‘hearts of gold and energy that is never-ending.’ They have seen a need for a group home for boys in foster care and with the help of some local community leaders, have formed a non-profit corporation Never Too Late Inc. and received a 501C3 Tax Exempt status. The facility formerly known as Edgewood on Post Road is in the process of being acquired by Never Too Late Inc. The home would serve up to 16 boys, ages 9-18. They are presently raising funds to make this dream a reality. It takes very special people to have a dream this large and turn it into a reality in mostly rural Monticello, GA.
“Matthew 25:35 hits to the heart of these amazing people. It defines them and speaks of their faith and the commitment that strengthens them both.
“For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; ——— I was a stranger, and you took me in.”
“As one of the people who made a nomination said, ‘I cannot think of anymore deserving people in this community to receive the Citizen of the Year award than Kelly and John DeGarmo.’”
The theme for the annual meeting was Leave A Legacy—A Grand Gala Event, and was attended by nearly 150 people. In addition to naming the Citizens of the Year and the Business of the Year, those present were able to view a slide show presented by Benny Hawthorne detailing much history of the county. Named honorary Citizen of the Year several years ago, Mr. Hawthorne continues to be a jewel by helping the COC with events such as this and being part of several organizations in the county, although he actually lives in Macon. Music was provided by a jazz ensemble from the Monticello Community Band.
The COC also asked businesses for centerpieces which were later auctioned off at a silent auction which closed at the end of the evening. The annual membership meeting for the COC, Skip Davis took over as Chairman of the Board. He is assisted by Tony Lewis, vice-chair, Leah Dumas, secretary, and Tracey Nelson, treasurer. Board members were also elected at the meeting. Pam Mayer serves as president of the COC, and Rebecca Jacobson is manager. For more information on the COC, call 706-468-8994.
Article by: The Monticello News
Being a senior class and graduation adviser, she was supposed to head up a meeting at the high school last Thursday evening, so her family had to trick her to get her to the Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting where Mrs. Amy Scroggs was named the 2014 Citizen of the Year.A long-time dedicated high school business teacher, Mrs. Scroggs was nominated by several individuals, and was introduced at the annual meeting by the previous year’s Citizen of the Year, Jehan El-Jourbagy.
“Our Citizen of the Year is someone who is reliable, someone who always offers to help, someone who is family-oriented, church-centered, community supportive and school invested . . . someone who does not seek the limelight, but instead, always encourages others to step into the spotlight, to be their best, to set goals and to learn how to reach those goals – to reach goals with skills, no doubt, taught by this person.
Our Citizen of the Year is a lifelong citizen of this community. She was a cheerleader, and now, she cheers on others to success,” said Ms. El-Jourbagy. And, on one nomination form it quoted Mrs. Scroggs oft-hears phrase, “I bleed purple” referring the purple Hurricane and the school they represent.
“She graduated in the top 10 of her class from Monticello High School in 1987, and received a degree in business education from Georgia College in 1992. During college, she worked with The Monticello News and the Board of Education sharing high school news and writing articles for the newspaper.
“She is also a musician. She plays piano and organ for the Community Christmas Cantata, is the church organist for the Monticello Baptist Church and often provides music for weddings and funerals,” Ms. El-Jourbagy continued with Mrs. Scroggs’ bio.
“She doesn’t complain. She just does what needs to be done, and I think most of her co-workers and administrators will admit, if they need something done, she is the one they go to,” one nomination said.
Ms. El-Jourbagy went on to say that many people in the room probably can tell a “go to” Amy story. She’s just that kind of person.
Other quotes from her nominations included:
“Few people in Jasper County have impacted the lives of so many.”
“She is ready and willing to help the youth at school above and beyond any expectations.”
Mrs. El-Jourbagy concluded her announcement of the Citizen of the year by saying, “She loves her kids at school as if they were her own . . . I couldn’t think of anyone else who is more devoted to Jasper County and the kids of theses families than she is.”
She has been named a Teacher of the Year, a system teacher of the year, a STAR teacher, and she is someone I have always admired. The wife of Gary Scroggs and the mother to two children, Garrett and Alison, let’s please show our appreciation to our very deserving citizen of the year, Amy Scroggs.
And, perusal of the nominations shows all the good thing said about Mrs. Scroggs will not fit into this space. One nominator said:,
“Amy Scroggs is a lifelong resident of Jasper County…. She has remained in Jasper County and given herself to her community, her school, and her church. Few people in Jasper County have impacted the lives of so many.”
Another said, “For the all around good that she does for the community as well as the image she projects…she deserves to be Citizen of the Year.”
Mrs. Scroggs was very surprised, especially since her family told her that her sister-in-law, Kim McMichael, was receiving the honor.
Following the presentation of the Citizn of the Year, a My Cousin Vinny skit was held, bringing much laughter to the room.
Then, guest speaker Rebekah Snider with the Georgia Department of Economic Development as the Historic Heartland Tourism Project Manager, spoke to the group about economic development and especially tourism and the dollars it brings to a community.
After dinner and before the introduction of the Citizen of the Year, a brief business meeting was held during which new and returning Board of Directors members were introduced. New members approved include Carol Atkinson with Jasper County Health Services, Leah Dumas, self employed Avon representative, Dana Leach with Dana Leach Realty, Tony Lewis with Lewis and Malone Heating and Air, Tracey Nelson with the Bank of Monticello, and Tibia Williams with State Farm Insurance.
The 2014 officers will serve again in 2015, and they are Kathy Mudd, chair; Skip Davis, vice-chair; Carol Ann McMichael, treasurer, and Linda Simmons, secretary.
Other board members include Alma Abbott with Central Georgia EMC, Lyndsy Holman with Heartland Clinic of Chiropractic, Dr. Mike Newton, school superintendent, Jasper County Manager Karen Degges, and Monticello City Manager Peggy Billerman