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Award dinner to raise money to help pay tuition for some at Riverside Military Academy
School foundation honors Hall leaders, while increasing accessibility to potential students
Wilbur Ramsey
Wilbur Ramsey

Sandy Beaver Entrepreneurial Leadership Award dinner

When: Aug. 13; 6 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. dinner

Where: Riverside Military Academy, 2001 Riverside Drive, Gainesville; reception in E.C. May Commandant’s Lobby of Lanier Hall; dinner in Alumni Hall

Cost: $75 for individuals, $1,000 for corporate sponsorship for tables of 10

Col. James H. Benson regularly meets with mothers who want their sons to attend Riverside Military Academy but can’t make the finances work, even with multiple jobs.

The Riverside Military Academy Foundation was started in October with an eye toward Benson, the school’s president, being able to offer more of those mothers the tuition assistance they need.

The second annual Sandy Beaver Entrepreneurial Leadership Award dinner on Aug. 13 will honor two individuals and raise money for the RMA Foundation.

“They want them to be ready for college. They want them to be disciplined and organized in their personal lives,” said Amanda Griffin, vice president for advancement at Riverside. “They know their boys need it, but they can’t afford it.”

Jim Walters, president and CEO of Walters Management Co. in Gainesville and a supporter of numerous nonprofit organizations, and the late Wilbur Ramsey, a decorated World War II officer who later played a role in the poultry and health care industries, are this year’s honorees.

Walters is “known and respected for his keen business acumen, philanthropy and board leadership,” according to a news release from Riverside. Among the boards Walters sits on are Brenau University and the Georgia Ports Authority, where he’s the chairman.

Ramsey was a member of the Bushmasters, the first to storm the beaches of the South Pacific in World War II. The Hall County native was president of L&R Farms, and he was a longtime member of the board of what is now Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

The awards are named for Sandy Beaver, who served as Riverside president from 1912-1969.

The RMA Foundation started thanks to the suggestion of some Riverside alumni, who came to Col. Benson and said they had seen such a program work at other schools. Those founding members contributed a combined $100,000 to get the foundation off the ground.

Tickets for the dinner are $75, and corporate sponsorships can be purchased for $1,000 for tables of 10. For more information about the dinner, call Griffin at 770-538-2924.

Gov. Nathan Deal and his wife, Sandra, are scheduled to attend the event.

Both Walters and Deal will be given the opportunity to speak at the dinner, which will feature video tributes and brief spoken tributes to Walters and Ramsey, as well as some biographical information about Beaver.

Riverside had 524 boys in grades 7-12 at the private boarding school when it finished the 2014-15 school year in May, Griffin said. Those students came from 27 countries and 33 states. The school’s capacity is 540.

The Beaver Award and RMA Foundation have a goal of building a $1 million foundation.

Recipients of the award are Hall County residents “who have demonstrated entrepreneurial leadership and success in the areas of government, education, military, medicine or business to a degree rarely observed.  Additionally, these individuals will have demonstrated personal values and character that are consistent with the words and deeds of Gen. Sandy Beaver...”

The 2014 recipients were Frank K. Norton Sr. and the late Joe S. Hatfield.

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