Two leaders of prominent southern Beaufort County charities received the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce's top award Saturday night at its annual ball.
The Alice Glenn Doughtie Good Citizenship Award was presented to Ida Martin, founder of Bluffton Self Help, and Betsy Doughtie, executive director of The Deep Well Project, during the Mardi Gras-themed event at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa.
It marks the first time the award for community service has gone to separate honorees, the chamber said.
Both Martin and Doughtie are known for their leadership in the development of the local charities, which have provided basic needs for thousands of residents in need.
"Momentum is only as powerful as the people that move this community forward," said Tom Upshaw, chairman of the chamber's board of directors. "The chamber ball is our opportunity to publicly recognize and thank those individuals that reflect every day the definition of generosity of spirit,"
"These people are very exceptional in what they do," he said. "They live by the mantra of helping people by giving them a hand up as opposed to a hand out."
Bluffton Self Help began in Martin's garage in 1987, and has responded to nearly 22,000 requests for aid. Last fall, Martin received the Presidential Citizens Medal, one of the highest civilian honors in the U.S., in a private ceremony at the White House.
"Thank all of you," an emotional Martin said as she received the chamber honor. "There's nothing else I can say. This is a surprise."
The Deep Well Project has served the community since 1973, and Doughtie has been an integral part of the island community, the chamber said in a statement.
"When I first moved to Hilton Head back in 1970, I just thought I was the luckiest girl in the whole world to live in such a fabulous place," Doughtie said. "Whatever little part I've played in the growth of this community, it's been a real pleasure."
The Alice Glenn Doughtie Good Citizenship Award was first presented in 1971 and is dedicated by her family to the memory of Doughtie, who died at 22 after a short life of service to others. Betsy Doughtie's late husband, Timothy, was one of Alice's brothers.
Organization of the Year Award
Hilton Head Humane Association
The association was founded in 1976. Today, more than 250 animals are cared for in the shelter until they are adopted. The organization helped more than 2,400 animals last year.
"It is truly an example of an organization that helps those that literally cannot help themselves," said Hilton Head Mayor Drew Laughlin. "It is a tremendous part of who we are."
Sue West Educator of the Year
Lewis teaches seventh-grade science at Bluffton Middle School. She holds National Board Certification and was chosen as Conservationist of the Year in 2006 by the S.C. State Wildlife Association.
"Lois cares deeply for her students," said principal Dereck Rhoads. "Among her great contributions to education are the connections she has fostered between her students and the larger community."
Bluffton Regional Business Council Member of the Year
Green is a development partner of Buckwalter Place/Buckwalter Commercial, a mixed-use project in Bluffton. He also serves on the Bluffton Technology Incubator Corp. board and is active in a variety of area professional groups and chambers of commerce.
"He is the biggest cheerleader for Bluffton and our whole region," said Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka. "He is young and vibrant and exciting and so focused on economic development."
Zonta Woman of the Year
LaCoe was one of the founders of the community Thanksgiving Day dinner at Hudson's On the Docks. A Realtor, she helped initiate a teen's Christmas party for the Boys & Girls Club and recently helped start a soup kitchen with St. Andrews By-the-Sea United Methodist Church.
"She has always inspired me," said Linda Warnock, president of the Zonta Club of Hilton Head. "She has accomplished so many things, and a lot of it's just in a quiet way."
To view a slideshow of local faces and the best moments from the Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber Ball, click here.