A Gainesville architect and historic preservationist and a former Hall County commissioner and avid community servant got top honors at the Rotary Club of Gainesville’s annual banquet Monday night.
The club named Deborah Mack its Woman of the Year and Garland Reynolds its Man of the Year in festivities at the Chattahoochee Country Club.
Both spoke modestly Tuesday about the award.
“I’m very excited that people think that much about me to honor me in such a way,” Mack said.
A Gainesville native, Mack started as an educator but went on to forge a career with the Georgia Department of Labor, where she worked in several positions for more than 30 years before retiring in November 2000.
Two years later, Mack sought a seat on the Hall County Board of Commissioners following the death of Frances Meadows. She served in that post until 2008.
Mack also started serving on several nonprofit boards following her retirement.
“My parents taught me to give and not to mention what I did … to do it because you can do it,” she said.
Reynolds, also a Gainesville fixture, said the award “was totally undeserved.”
“There are so many other people who have done so much more than me,” he said.
Reynolds is owner of Reynolds Architects, a 40-year-old firm based off Academy Street in Gainesville. Locally, much of his work has had a higher calling, as he has designed St. John Baptist Church, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and Grace Episcopal Church.
But his work also has extended far and wide, often meshing with historic interests, such as a proposed visitors center for Grant’s Tomb in New York.
Reynolds also is spearheading the Healan-Head Mill Historic Preservation Trust, which is advocating for the preservation and restoration of a crumbling 170-year-old gristmill near Lula.
LeTrell Simpson introduced Mack at the banquet, describing her as honorable, compassionate and a “caretaker.”
“She does not seek the limelight, but the light follows her because of her unselfish giving,” Simpson said. “She sees people, not color. She has a servant heart.”
Abit Massey, who introduced Reynolds, said the architect has his “fingerprints and footprints all over Gainesville and Hall County in a favorable way.”
“For worthwhile causes, (Reynolds) has donated thousands and thousands of hours utilizing the training and ability by which he makes a living,” Massey said.
Also, at the banquet, Gene Anderson received the Sidney O. Smith Fellowship Award, Mike Giles received the Guardian of Ethics Award and Darrell Snyder received the W. Lee Arrendale Award for Vocational Excellence.