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Boomershines honored for donations, charitable efforts
Couple named philanthropists of the year
Walter and Winkie Boomershine were named philanthropists of the year by the North Georgia Community Foundation Thursday. - photo by Tom Reed

Walter and Winkie Boomershine were honored Thursday at the North Georgia Community Foundation's annual Philanthropists of the Year Luncheon.

The Rev. Bill Coates of First Baptist Church of Gainesville, where the luncheon was held, said during the invocation that "philosophy is the love of wisdom but philanthropy is the love of others."

Walter Boomershine said he doesn't like to broadcast his donations and charitable efforts, but "some way the folks found out. I think mainly because most of our gifts have been matching gifts to try to get other people to respond and I found that to be a good way to do it."

The Boomershines own automotive dealerships in the Atlanta area and have made significant contributions to several charities. They played a critical role in the creation of the Georgia Council on Child Abuse, helped to reorganize Habitat for Humanity in Hall County and built more than 35 of the houses, and has been involved with the Georgia Mountain Food Bank for the last seven years.

When the Boomershines were announced as philanthropists of the year, the crowd of about 200 people stood to applaud the couple as they walked on stage.

"I really don't understand it because I'm doing something I like to do and then the community foundation comes along and recognizes me for something I enjoy doing and so it's just a double pleasure," Boomershine said.

Winkie Boomershine mirrored his sentiments.

"It has really been a surprise and not work for us because we have enjoyed it," Winkie Boomershine said holding the tree-shaped award.

Their most recent contribution was made to the Georgia Mountain Food Bank to build a 20,000 square-foot logistics center for the food bank.

"There's just such a need to feed hungry people and the more I got into it the more I learned about it. There is just such a vast surplus of food from the agriculture department programs... and so there's a supply of food stuff that otherwise may go to waste, and there are hungry people that need the food," Walter Boomershine said.

The North Georgia Community Foundation has given $36 million in 26 years for the benefit of many nonprofits, scholarships and community initiatives.

"Community foundations impact lives, solve problems and improve futures. In a down economy with limited resources and a growing need for services to help families we are more determined than ever to bring our community partners together to find innovative and effective solutions to some of the most challenging social problems in our region," said Frank Norton Jr., North Georgia Community Foundation Board of Directors vice chairman.