12 honored with Beaufort chamber's Civitas Awards

Dot Gnann, a former Beaufort County councilwoman, school board member and community leader, took home the Lifetime Leadership Award Friday at the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce's Civitas Awards.

Among her many contributions, Gnann helped persuade County Council to dedicate three mills every year in perpetuity for land preservation and spearheaded the county's first comprehensive land-use plan, according to a chamber release.

More than 250 people attended the event on Dataw Island. It also included the chamber's annual business meeting, introductions of new board members and the presentation of the 2010-2011 Beaufort County teachers of the year, according to the release.

The Civitas Awards featured 55 nominees in 12 categories.

Other winners were:

  • Community Stewardship: H2 Builders Inc.
  • Excellence in Free Enterprise: Lowcountry Produce
  • Outstanding Nonprofit: Junior Service League of Beaufort
  • Outstanding Employee: Kim Merritt, Beaufort Memorial Hospital
  • Outstanding Young Professional: Ian Leslie, Lowcountry Economic Network
  • Regional Economic Impact: University of South Carolina Beaufort
  • Leadership Beaufort Alumni: Connie Hipp
  • Tourism Leadership: Friends of Hunting Island
  • Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year: Staff Sgt. Nicholas J. Underwood
  • Junior Enlisted Service Member of the Year: Cpl. Jesse Parke
  • Military Citizen of the Year: Col. John Payne
  • Civitas judges were Bill Bootle, Frankie Denmark, Jeff Evans, Jeff Kidd, Mike McFee, Courtney McDermott, John Perrill and Wendy Zara.