The Gainesville Jaycees honored three individuals for their involvement in the community at its 68th annual Young Man and Young Woman of the Year award ceremony Thursday night.
The banquet honors a young man and woman under the age of 40 who have given back to the community through volunteering and civic service. The 2013 banquet was held at the Chattahoochee Country Club.
Staci Tunkel was presented with the Young Woman of the Year award by the 2012 recipient, Kelly Lee.
Tunkel was honored for her involvement with Center Point, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Teen Pregnancy Prevention and several other youth-centered organizations.
Tunkel said she was “blown away” and humbled by the honor.
She said she’s involved with the various organizations because she wants to help and encourage the youth of the community.
“There are a lot of youths and children that don’t get the same opportunities that we do and if you give them a voice and a role model it gives them something to work towards and believe in,” Tunkel said.
The Young Man of the Year award was given to Jim Coyle by the 2012 recipient, Brian Daniel.
Daniel shared anecdotes from Coyle’s childhood and youth in Gainesville and praised him for his involvement in several community organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County, Northeast Georgia Medical Center and Elachee Nature Center.
Coyle said he was also shocked to be awarded the honor.
“I was completely surprised, honored and humbled by it. A lot of very great folks have won this award,” Coyle said.
Both recipients were presented with plaques, and Rep. Carl Rogers read and presented gubernatorial proclamations in their honor.
The Jaycees also presented Philip Wilheit with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is not given annually.
Wilheit was honored for his years of service to the community and the state. His involvement spans the areas of economic development, health care, education and politics.
Wilheit was the president of the Jaycees from 1974 to 1975. He said during his time with the Jaycees he learned about business and made lasting friendships that continue to this day.
“I’m very flattered that the Jaycees would do this,” Wilheit said. “The Jaycees is where I really learned to serve the community and learned a lot of other things as well.”