The local business community paused Saturday to recognize people whose investment in our community has profited us all.
They include Dudley King Jr., this year's recipient of the Alice Glenn Doughtie Good Citizenship Award for selfless service, southern Beaufort County's premier community service award. The award was one of five presented at the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce's annual ball.
King has soldiered for many local nonprofit organizations, most notably the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina and The Children's Center. Chamber board chairman Tom Upshaw correctly observed, "This is not an individual who's content to simply write a check. He dives into whatever he's working on. Whether it's moving furniture, working with architects or managing finances, he is committed and involved from beginning to end."
King is a rock steady volunteer who makes sure the work gets done and the kind of volunteer every nonprofit group would give its eye-teeth for. He is a worthy recipient of an award that recognizes those who put others before self.
Others earning a well-deserved moment to shine Saturday were:
Organizations of the Year: University of South Carolina Beaufort and Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Foundation. Both organizations work to make this a better place for our young people. USCB's enrollment has more than doubled since it began offering four-year degrees nearly a decade ago, serving nearly 2,000 students at its two campuses and providing an economic impact of $74 million in the region. Since 1979, the Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Foundation has had one goal in mind -- raising money to help children of the Lowcountry. More than $3.9 million has gone to area children's charities.
Zonta Woman of the Year: Cindy Taulbee, vice president of finance for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, has been a champion of community causes, serving in many capacities over the past 28 years. She is past president of Zonta on Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, a board member of the Island Recreation Center, a founding member of The Sandbox Children's Museum and serves on the board of Bluffton Self Help.
The Sue West Educator of the Year: John Abbott brings math to life for his upper grade students at Hilton Head Christian Academy. But he doesn't stop there. He teaches his students to be leaders who can have a positive impact on the world.
Bluffton Regional Business Council Member of the Year: Bluffton Oyster Co. owners Tina and Larry Toomer know their family's history and future are tied to the May River. In addition to running successful businesses, they work with regulatory agencies on water quality issues and return thousands of oyster shells to the river to seed future harvesting.
Congratulations to all.