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Dinner honors three local community leaders
kit dunlap 0508
Kit Dunlap

Three community leaders were honored Thursday at the Northeast Georgia Council of the Boy Scouts of America annual American Values Dinner.

Businessman Mike Cottrell, Chamber of Commerce leader Kit Dunlap and attorney Woody Stewart all received Thursday the Ralph Cleveland Distinguished Citizen Award for each of their contributions to the community.

Political strategist Ralph Reed, who gave the keynote speech at the dinner, said the three honorees’ values exemplified the importance of the Scouts in a time he said society “celebrates notoriety for the sake of notoriety.”

“What we’re really honoring is not somebody’s title or somebody’s job,” Reed said. “What we’re really honoring is their testimony.”

Cottrell, owner of Cottrell Sullivan manufacturing, now raises cattle with his wife, Lynn, on a ranch in Lumpkin County.

Max Burns, the dean of the Mike Cottrell Business School at North Georgia College & State University, called Cottrell a “visionary” and an “innovator.”

Emily Bagwell, chairman of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, introduced Dunlap as a resourceful, smart, competitive and efficient woman. Dunlap has been the president and chief executive officer of the chamber for the past 13 years.

“Kit has been diligent and relentless in promoting our community; she really is recognized all over the state for her ideas and her work ethic,” Bagwell said. “... She’s an excellent example of what can happen when you don’t worry about getting credit for what you’ve done.”

Stewart is a former chairman of the Gainesville Board of Education and the managing partner for Stewart Melvin and Frost LLP, but has served the Hall County community in numerous ways — contributions that friend Pete Miller said have made a difference in the community.

“Woody, I don’t know if you feel that your aspirations have been fulfilled thus far, but I do know that this community, and the friends here believe that you have accomplished far more than what would have ever been expected of a person in Gainesville-Hall County,” said Miller.

Thursday’s dinner raised more than $106,000 for the local Boy Scouts council.

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