The Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce honored the area’s rich athletic history Thursday night by adding two legendary icons to its Wall of Fame.
E.B. Hamilton and Arthur Mott enriched the lives of thousands of local youth and both were honored during the Chamber’s annual banquet at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center.
Other honorees included Tyron Spearman, who received The Stafford Award; Wanda Moore, who received the Prince Businesswoman of the Year Award; Dr. David Bridges, who received the John Hunt Entrepreneur of the Year Award; Keri Jones, who received the J. Lamar Branch Award; and Curtis Akins, who received the Ambassador of the Year Award.
Hamilton, a standout athlete at Montezuma High School and at Mercer University, served as the director of the Tift County Recreation Department from 1962 to 1983. He also was the co-organizer of Little League Baseball in Tifton and officiated local basketball for 30 years. He received the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Service to Sports Award in 1984 and was a charter member of the Georgia ASA Hall of Fame. Hamilton passed away at the age of 93 in 1997 and a statue honoring him stands at the entrance of the Tift County Recreation Department Athletic Complex which also bears his name.
Mott was a native of Tift County and starred in football at Savannah State before enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He later graduated from Tuskegee Institute and followed his love for boxing, earning much success as a welterweight fighter although a rib injury forced him to miss a fight with Sugar Ray Robinson. He returned to his native Tift County to begin a 30-year career of teaching and coaching. He amassed a great record for the Wilson High Tigers and after immigration, he moved on to Tift County High School where he coached football and baseball and taught P.E. In 2007, he was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame.
Spearman, a native of Adrian, came to Tifton as an ABAC student in 1963 and also graduated and received his Master of Science Degree from the University of Georgia. He is the president of Spearman Marketing and Advertising Agency, as well as serving as the editor of the Peanut Farm Market News, director of the National Peanut Buying Points Association, director of the Tifton-Tift County Tourism Association, director of the Georgia Agrirama Foundation, marketing editor of The Peanut Grower and the Pecan Grower magazines and farm news editor of the Southeast Ag Net Radio Network for Georgia.
He has received numerous awards over the years for his service in the agricultural industry and is the three-time president of the Exchange Club of Tifton among other professional organizations where he has held leadership positions.
Moore is a Tift County native and has worked at Colquitt EMC for 36 years where she is currently the district office supervisor in Tifton. She has been actively involved in a variety of committees and events for the Chamber of Commerce. She was named the Ambassador of the Year in 2005 and is the incoming chair for the 2013 year. She has also been actively involved with the Relay for Life for over 10 years.
Bridges grew up on a farm in Terrell County and is currently the 10th president of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. He has also served as assistant dean of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and he served on the faculty at UGA for nearly 20 years. He is also a graduate of ABAC and Auburn University, where he also received his master’s degree. He received his Ph.D. in agronomy (weed science) from Texas A&M University. Under Bridges’ leadership, ABAC acquired State College status and began offering baccalaureate degrees in 2008. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Southwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition and has previously served on the boards of Ruth’s Cottage and the Patticake House, the Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Agrirama Authority.
Jones is a graduate of Tift County High, ABAC and Valdosta State University. An accountant at Allen, Pritchett and Bassett, she has been active in a number of civic and charitable organizations. Currently, she is a board member with the Chamber of Commerce, Ruth’s Cottage and the Patticake House and is a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2013. She has also volunteered with the Relay for Life, Tiftarea Young Professionals and the Tiftarea YMCA.
Akins, also a Tifton native, is a Navy veteran and is the assistant state director of the African American PSTD Association and the senior vice commander of the American Legion Post 559. He is also very active with the Chamber Ambassadors, attending nearly each ribbon cutting and groundbreaking during 2012. Akins also was assisted with the Chamber of Commerce golf tournament last fall.
Also, Moore was welcomed as the new Chair of the Chamber of Commerce by outgoing Chair Randy Clements.
The annual banquet was sponsored by Tift Regional Medical Center, Heatcraft, Southeastern Federal Credit Union, Ashley’s Business Solutions and Mediacom.