Annual awards small token of gratitude for job well done

One could not find a more deserving recipient than Art Brown for Hilton Head Island's top community service award.

Brown received the 2010 Alice Glenn Doughtie Good Citizenship Award for selfless service at the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce's annual ball Saturday night.

The depth and breadth of his efforts during the past two decades to make this community a better place to live and work is difficult to match. And his impact has been felt across Beaufort County and the Lowcountry.

Within a year of retiring to Hilton Head, he was leading the 1990 annual United Way fundraising campaign and was so successful that he did it again in 1991.

But that was just a warm-up. Brown, a retired four-star Army general, was chairman of the town's Water Task Force and worked with the Lowcountry Water Project to bring public drinking water to all of Hilton Head's residents.

He also was chairman of the People Working Together Committee, a group created in 1992 to improve working conditions and race relations on the island. The respect he showed all who sat around the table was instrumental in any progress the group made toward achieving its goals.

Brown has led the Hilton Head Island Foundation, Technical College of the Lowcountry Foundation and the college's governing commission. He helped guide the college's 52 percent growth rate since 2005, and his efforts with the foundation have helped ensure that all who would benefit from the college's programs get a chance to do so.

He's also worked with the Boys and Girls Club, Hilton Head Rotary Club and Leadership Hilton Head.

All that and more after a 30-year military career that included two combat tours in Vietnam and active duty on three continents.

His quiet, effective leadership is an example to us all.

Also Saturday night, former Hilton Head Mayor Tom Peeples received the Order of the Palmetto, the state's highest civilian honor. It is a fitting tribute. Peeples worked tirelessly for the community and the state in his 15 years as mayor and six years as a councilman, and his community service started long before he was elected to office.

Other award recipients were:

  • The Children's Center, Outstanding Organization. Since 1967, the center has provided high quality, affordable child care and education to working families on Hilton Head and in Bluffton. Its recent expansion into a new facility that doubled its former size is a vote of confidence by the community for the vital work it does.
  • LouAnne Barrett, Sue West Educator of the Year. Barrett teaches K-12 art at Hilton Head Christian Academy, as well as Spanish. She is a member of the Hilton Head Art League, a volunteer for the Island School Council for the Arts, a member of the National Art Education Association and the South Carolina Art Association. Barrett was praised for the encouragement and guidance she offers her students.
  • Kimberly Duke-Clarke, Zonta Woman of the Year. Duke-Clarke, owner and director of Lowcountry Day Preschool in Bluffton, was cited for her community service and advocacy for children. She is incoming vice president of the Child Abuse Prevention Association and has donated many hours as a social worker to the state Department of Social Services.
  • Pino Gelato, Small Business of the Year. President and owner Ramona Fantini and her husband, John Jacobs, bought the business in 2005 and have since opened four stores in other states. The award recognizes a small business that demonstrates leadership, a clear vision, a commitment to excellence, demonstrated growth and communty service.
  • Leah McCarthy, Bluffton-Hardeeville Member of the Year. McCarthy owns Monster Pizza, the Downtown Deli and Downtown Catering Co. The award honors a person or organization that has given back to the Bluffton community and is active in community, civic and professional organizations. McCarthy is past president of the Old Town Merchants Society and helped develop its website.
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