Heart of the Community Award Nominations Being Sought

Nominations are being accepted for the annual program that honors individuals who have worked tirelessly to improve the community
through volunteerism. The Heart of the Community Foundation, Inc. and its Board of Governors are accepting nominations of potential recipients for the 37th anniversary of the Heart of the Community Awards of Honor. The deadline for nominations is October 28, 2022.

According to Chris Jackson. Chairman of the Board of Governors, the awards committee searches for individuals who have given their time and talents to make this community a better place in which to live through their selfless dedication to volunteer and community service.
“Candidates who should be considered for the award are those “unsung heroes” who have distinguished themselves through volunteer services that have greatly impacted the lives of children, the elderly, disadvantaged, or the community-at-large. Their service could be in any or several of the following areas: education, religion, health and medicine, government, community, humanitarian, youth, arts, general leadership, retired/past service, conservation, or others,” or others he said.

Over the past 36 years approximately 285 individuals have received these prestigious awards. “In order for us to continue our longstanding tradition of honoring some of Rome’s “unsung heroes”, we need the community to support our efforts by nominating deserving individuals that have touched their lives or the lives of others. When you look around at our community and see all that it has to offer, you know there are outstanding volunteers working diligently behind the scenes, don’t let a deserving individual go unnoticed because you thought someone else might nominate them,” noted Jackson.

The award recipients will be selected by an anonymous committee in November and announced in December or January. They will be honored at the 37 the annual “Loving Hearts, Helping Hands” event that will be held at The Taylor Farm on February 25, 2023.

AdventHealth Redmond, the heart center of northwest Georgia, is the proud sponsor of the Heart of the Community Awards of Honor.

For additional information please contact Wanda Whitten at 706 506-0043.

Thank you from the Heart!

A heartfelt Thank You to all the recipients, volunteers and sponsors who helped make 2022’s Heart of the Community Awards of Honor a beautiful and successful event!

2022 Heart of the Community Awards of Honor Recipients

This year, seven of Rome’s “unsung” heroes will be honored at the Heart of the Community Awards of Honor gala called An Affair of the Heart.  For 36 years, AdventHealth Redmond has sponsored these awards to recognize and honor individuals whose commitment through volunteer service has made this community a better place in which to live, work and raise a family.

Our 2022 recipients include: Rev. Norris Allen, Tina Brinson, Board of Governors’ honoree Villa Hizer, Business Award honoree Hardy Realty, Lauren Sklar, Scott Thompson and David Thornton.

Proceeds from the event will be designated for heart education and safety programs in the Rome and Floyd County community. Previously funded projects have included the Heart House for families of critically ill patients on the Redmond campus, AED units in public facilities in Rome, a fitness course at Ridge Ferry Park, fitness equipment at the Thornton Center, swimming scholarships at the YMCA, exercise equipment for Summit Quest and grants to various humanitarian and heart related agencies in Rome and Floyd County.

 

For more information on the Heart of the Community, contact:  Wanda Whitten, 706-802-3924 or  Heart of the Community Facebook.

Villa Sulzbacher Hizer, 2022 Board of Governors’ Award Recipient

Villa Sulzbacher Hizer,
Board of Governors’ Award

A native Roman whose family came to Rome in the 1830s,  Villa graduated Thornwood School, now Darlington, and earned her B.A. degree in mathematics at the University of Georgia.  She and her late husband, Courtney, owned and operated North Georgia Distributing Co., a beer and wine wholesale company for 28 years.

She continues to serve on the following Board of Directors:

Boys & Girls Clubs of NW GA -38 years -Received a Distinguished Service Award Chieftains Museum serving as President and Treasurer and now on advisory board
Community Foundation for Greater Rome
University of Georgia Libraries Board of Visitors

Other community involvement has included:
Greater Rome Chamber
Women in Management
Leadership Rome
Darlington School Alumni Council
Darlington Distinguished Alumni Award
Leadership Darlington
American Cancer Society
Heart of the Community
Rome Area Heritage Foundation
Summit Quest
Regions Bank
Junior Service League   Sustainer of the Year 1997
Historic Desoto Theatre Foundation
Georgia Beer Wholesalers

Supporter of many non-profits

Leisure Activities:
Seven Hills Garden Club
Co-Vestors Investment Club
Bonneville Land Speed Racing

2022 Award Recipients:

Rev. Norris Allen, 2022 HOC Award Recipient

Rev. Norris Allen, Award of Honor  

Norris is a native of Calhoun County, Ala.  He received his elementary education in Floyd County and attended Main High School.

He and his wife, Gladys, have been married for 60 years and are the parents of 5 boys and one girl. He received certification in Electrical Wiring and certifications in Blueprint and Design.  He also earned a certificate in Interior Decorating Design.

His activities include:

-Rome Historical Museum
-NAAC
-Hope Ministries
-Southern Christian Leadership Conference Minister’s Council
– Founded Northwest Georgia Minority Business Association
– Founded Camp Sirron-a camp to teach current and past history to youth
– Founded Martin Luther King Christian Celebration
-Founded Student of Excellence Scholarship Foundation

Nominators: “Norris has been recognized with 50 proclamations from Rome and other cities.  He is a champion for diversity and acceptance.”


2022 Award Recipients:

Tina Brinson, 2022 HOC Award Recipient

Tina Brinson, Award of Honor

Tina Brinson has been described as a giving selfless person volunteering for years behind the scenes. Her activities include:

-Sexual Assault Center-Past Chairperson and Fundraising volunteer
-Rome Celebrity Dancing with the Stars
-Producer of plays at Rome Little Theatre
-Darlington School-Parent Teachers Association and Fund Raising committee
-Volunteer with Berry Half Marathon
-Volunteer and Fundraising for Northwest Georgia Boys Scouts
-St. Mary’s School board Member and fund raising
-Volunteer with Underground Rome Tours

Tina is married to Rob Brinson and they are the parents to Maggie Grace and Madison.

Nominator: “Tina has been volunteering for years. She remains calm in all situations.  When Tina volunteers, her whole family volunteers.”


2022 Award Recipients:

Lauren Sklar, 2022 HOC Award Recipient

Lauren Sklar

Lauren is a native of Rome and a graduate of West Rome High School. She attended Converse College and received a master’s degree from the University of West Georgia. Lauren is married to Marc Sklar and they are the parents of Abby and Emma.

Her community activities include:

-Junior Service League past president and a Sustainer of the Year recipient.

-First Baptist Church — Deacon, missions teacher, Sunday School teacher, Women of the Church chairperson and chairperson of the flower committee.

-Leadership Rome graduate and Leadership Rome coordinator

-Darlington School parent

Nominator: “Lauren is adaptable and flexible no matter what comes her way. She loves and is passionate for this community.”


2022 Award Recipients:

Scott Thompson, 2022 HOC Award Recipient

Scott Thompson

A native of Marietta, Scott attended Young Harris College, majoring in Theatre. He and His wife, Dana, share their home with “five fur babies.” Scott is known as a singer-songwriter community advocate and champion of all things Rome.

His activities include:

-Christmas Back Home Concert free tickets to Davies Homeless Shelters and Open Door Home
-“Sing for Your Supper” fundraiser concert for Community Kitchen-Thus far has raised $20,000.00
-Board member and Events Chairman of Coosa River Basin Committee
-Volunteer and Board of Rome Area Council for the Arts
-Member of Downtown Development Authority Promotion
-Originator of Brown Bag Concerts
-Mentor for local high school student

Nominator: “Scott’s passion for creating change for the better and changing the status quo has brought vibrancy to downtown Rome.  His passion for serving the community cannot be denied.”


2022 Award Recipients:

Hardy Realty, 2022 HOC Business Award Recipient

Hardy Realty
BUSINESS AWARD

Hardy Realty recently developed a company initiative that focuses on volunteer work, community service and donations. CEO Jimmy Byars has spent years contributing his time to this community and has cultivated a strong volunteer ethic among his agents and staff.

They will often be seen volunteering or donating to the following:

DaviesHome Shelters                                                     Desoto Theatre
Free Clinic                                                                     Open Door Home
One Community United                                             Sexual Assault Center
Heart of the Community                                            Junior Service League
Java Joy of Rome                                                         TRED of Rome
United Way                                                                   Cancer Navigators
American Red Cross                                                    South Rome Redevelopment
Elevation House                                                          South Rome Early Learning Center
Boys and Girls ClubRome International Film Festival
Boy Scouts                                                                   Keep Rome Beautiful
Shakespeare Festival                                                  Habitat for Humanity
One Table Rome                                                          CRBI

Nominator: “Jimmy Byars, CEO, works to ensure this community is positioned for growth and the future while providing help to those living  in the shadows and on the fringes.”


2022 Award Recipients:

David Thornton, 2022 HOC Award Recipient

David Thornton is a native of Rome. He and his wife, Teresa, have five children and 13 grandchildren. His community activities include:

-Chaplain:  Floyd County Police Department
Floyd County Sheriff’s Office
Gordon County Sheriff’s Office
E-911
Metro Drug Task Force
-Georgia Homeland Security Division
-Sr. Chaplain Emeritus Georgia Sheriff’s Association
-Armuchee High Football Team

-Leader of Mission Trips to Israel and Greece

-Founder of Essential Church for First Responders
-Leads local ministers in service at the jail and other local needs in the community
-Active in Rome GA Cares Program for Hurricane Relief
-Vice-President Rome Noon Optimist Club
-Referee for High School Basketball
-Volunteer Coach

Nominator: “He takes care of our officers and their families, the incarcerated, our community, and other communities. We are so very fortunate to have someone as selfless as David Thornton here in Floyd County. He truly cares about ALL people and takes action to make lives better.”


2022 Award Recipients:

Brown appointed 2021-2022 Chairman

Kristy S. Brown has been appointed chairman of the Heart of the Community Foundation Board of Governors for 2021-2022.

The Heart of the Community Awards recognition program is sponsored by Redmond Regional Medical Center and the Heart of the Community Foundation, Inc., and honors local citizens for their volunteer service to our community.

Recipients of the awards are honored at a black-tie gala, Loving Hearts, Helping Hands, the 36th annual event will be held on February 26, 2022. Location and method of presentation will be announced later.

Proceeds from the event will be designated for heart education and safety programs in the Rome and Floyd County community. Previously funded projects have included the Heart House for families of critically ill patients on the Redmond campus, AED units in public facilities in Rome, a fitness course at Ridge Ferry Park, fitness equipment at the Thornton Center, swimming scholarships at the YMCA, exercise equipment for Summit Quest and grants to various humanitarian and heart related agencies in Rome and Floyd County.

Kristy is the Vice President of Retail Banking at Greater Community Bank, where she been employed since 2013. Prior to joining GCB, she had a twenty-year career with Kate Spade and Liz Claiborne, Inc.  She currently serves on the board of directors for the Miss Rome Scholarship Organization and the Voluntary Action Center and is the chairman of the Calhoun-Gordon Community Foundation.

Kristy has one son, Chase, who is completing a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at Kennesaw State University.

Additional Heart of the Community Foundation Board members who assist in the event and the mission of the Foundation include:, Angie Beard, David Brearley, Steve Graves, Dawn Irmscher, Chris Jackson, Mai Mai Kelly , Mandy Maloney, , Artagus Newel, , Elaine Price, Mimi Richards, Pam Roberts, , Megan Otwell, Barbara Earle, Jake Hager, Sarah Martin, Brooks Mathis, Sara Molnar, Jennifer Perkins, Michele Rikard, William Richardson, Jim Talley

 

A Heartfelt Thank You

Following a successful yet challenging Heart of the Community Awards of Honor this year, we would like to acknowledge and thank  the 2021 sponsors for our event.

WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING SUPPORTERS:

ANNETTTE MORRIS BANKS

MARY SIB BANKS

DR. JULIE BARNES

FRANK BARRON

DR. AND MRS.SIDNEY BELL

DR.AND MRS. JOHN J. BENINATO

BRINSON ASKEW AND BERRY

MIKE BURNES

GAYLAND COOPER

RANDY DAVIS

DR. PAUL FERGUSON

LYNN FINN

FORD, GITTINGS & KANE

RITA GRIFFIN

HARBIN CLINIC

DR. BILL HARBIN

DR. BUFORD HARBIN/JANICE DISMUKE

HARDY REALTY

VILLA HIZER

ROBERT AND SUSAN HORTMAN

CHERYL HUFFMAN

CHUCK HUFSTETLER

MR. AND MRS DAVID HUNTER

JAMES AND ANGELA HUNTER

DR. AND MRS. JOHN KIRKLAND

SUSAN LOVEL

MCRAE, SMITH, PEEK, HARMAN & MONROE, LLP

GREG AND ELAINE PRICE

PAIGE AND JOHN QUINLIVAN

REDMOND URGENT CARE

HAL AND MIMI RICHARDS

ROME RADIOLOGY

STATE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY

DR. AND MRS. FRANK STEGALL

MARY HARDIN THORNTON

MARGARET AND GENE TIDWELL

DR. AND MRS. JOEL TODINO

TOLES, TEMPLE AND WRIGHT

THE WATTERS FAMILY

ANDREW WELBORN

WANDA J. WHITTEN

LIZ WILLIAMS

MOLLY YANCEY

2021 Heart of the Community Awards of Honor Recipients


On February 27,2021, seven of Rome’s “unsung” heroes will be honored at the Heart of the Community Awards of Honor. This year’s event will be presented virtually as a Zoom presentation.

For 35 years Redmond Regional Medical Center has been the presenting sponsor for these awards. The individuals are recognized for their commitment to volunteer service which makes this community a better place in which to live, work and raise a family.

For more information contact Wanda J. Whitten, 706-802-3924 or Heart of the Community Facebook.

Our 2021 recipients include:

 

For more information:  Wanda Whitten, 706-802-3924 or  Heart of the Community Facebook.

EMILY HJORT, 2021 HOC Award Recipient

A native of Douglasville, Georgia, Emily and her husband, Peter, moved to Rome in 1998 from Thomasville, Georgia. She immediately began giving selflessly and tirelessly to Rome and Floyd County.

Her past activities and service includes:
Volunteer, Good Neighbor Ministries
Leadership Georgia Class of 1997
Leadership Georgia Program Chair 2001
Co- Chairman, American Cancer Society Cattle Barron’s Ball
Trustee Darlington School
President, Darlington Upper School Parents Association
Charter Steering Committee Member to Establish Young Life in Rome
President, Rome Area Council for the Arts
Board Member, Heart of the Community
Creator of HeArt Art Project
Creator of RACA’s Firefly Fling Annual Student Art Contest
Member of Leadership Team that Launched the Year Long Ellen Axon Wilson 100th Anniversary Homecoming Celebration, which Culminated in the Gift to the City of Rome of a Statue of Her on the Town Green

Her current activities and service includes:
Young Lives Board Member and Volunteer
Colonial Dames
HOPE Alliance Volunteer
Foster Family Support Team at Seven Hills Fellowship
Vice President, Rome Area Council for the Arts

Emily and, Peter are the proud parents of Peter W. Hjort, III and Margaret Hjort Morin.

Nominated by Andy Davis and Nancy Knight– “Emily is a tireless and selfless volunteer. She has given her time, money and talents to improve our community.”

 

2021 Award Recipients:

DR. MATTHEW MCCLAIN, 2021 HOC Award Recipient


Dr. McClain has been a Radiologist with Rome Radiology Group since 2006.
A graduate of Georgia State University and the Medical College of Georgia, he completed a Diagnostic Radiology Residency and a Musculoskeletal Radiology Fellowship at the University of Virginia
He has been a driving force in improving Radiology in Rome. According to Dr. Kirk Kizziah, Dr. McClain’s partner and the current Rome Radiology Board President, “Dr. McClain has added countless innovations and business solutions to our practice, working long hours to make us more efficient as a group, and allowing us to constantly elevate our standards of care. He tirelessly cares for patients and frequently gives of his own time to make our lives easier and our practice thrive”.

Dr. McClain’s activities and awards past and present:
– HCA Research Institute Clinical Research Investigator 2020
-Founder of Plasma Therapy non-profit March 2020-developed to coordinate an facilitate collecting, banking and administration of Convalescent Plasma for COVID-19 in conjunction with Blood Assurance
– Board of Directors The Exchange Club Family Resource Center
– President of Rome Radiology 2014-2018
-Chief Resident Medical College 2003-2004
– Georgia State delegate to the American College of Radiology 2002-2005
-Outstanding President of the Year Medical College Of Georgia Diagnostic Radiology 2003-2003
– Pediatric Radiology Student of the Year Medical College of Georgia 2000
Even before the national recognition of the potential impact of COVID-19, Dr. McClain anticipated the challenges and potential impact on our community. He devoted hours upon hours of research in an effort to understand the virus and innovative therapy options. In addition to his full-time profession as a radiologist, he created a non-profit organization in spring of 2020, Plasma Therapy, dedicated to supporting the medical community with treatment options for COVID-19. He participated with Mayo Clinic as a principal Investigator in their Convalescent Plasma Expanded Access study and began enrolling and treating patients mid-April. He led our local convalescent plasma program, spending countless hours researching protocols, writing protocols, submitting applications to the FDA, presenting to internal review boards at the facilities, fielding media interviews, coordinating with blood banks, creating a website to educate the community and provide a point of contact for potential plasma donors.
Another former radiology partner of Dr. McClain’s, Dr. Bill Harbin, describes him as “an individual with the highest standards, a tremendous work ethic and a deep and sincere dedication to patient welfare.” He goes on to state, “The establishment of this (convalescent plasma) program required the designation of a principal medical investigator, a role that Matt enthusiastically shouldered…. without Matt’s vision and hard work, the plasma therapy that many patients received in Rome and Floyd County likely would not have occurred, and some may not have survived COVID-19.”
Additional comments by a Plasma Therapy board member described Dr. McClain as someone who “selflessly battled for the greater good of our community” during a health care crisis in addition to his full-time profession and role as a husband and father. “He sought hope early and relentlessly pursued answers…..He is not someone to sit back and wait for others to act and his passion for his community always overshadowed his concern for himself’.
According to Dr. Kirk Kizziah, “Following tireless efforts in research and developing protocols. our small town was able to successfully treat one the first patients in the country with plasma, much earlier than many of the academic institutions.”

Dr. McClain is married to Heather McClain and they are the parents of 4 children, Jack. William, Lily Anne and Analise.

 

2021 Award Recipients: