Former Hall County Commissioner and state Sen. Jane Hemmer was honored by the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia on Tuesday as the group’s 2014 Woman of Distinction.
“She is a wonderful lady,” Fund Development Director LaDon Shaw said. “She was a Girl Scout as a girl, and she had been a senator for the state. She was the first female senator for Georgia from this area.”
“I am grateful beyond expression,” Hemmer said upon receiving the award, thanking her family and friends in the process. She also mentioned her mother, Julia Mae Rochester Reynolds.
“And all women like her, who made the most of their lives in a time when women didn’t have the same opportunities that we enjoy today,” Hemmer said.
Hemmer is president of White Sulphur Properties, and owner of Forensic Artists of Georgia where she works as a freelance forensic artist for law enforcement agencies.
She has a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from the Medical College of Georgia, along with graduate work in anthropology from the University of Georgia.
Hemmer also enjoys sculpting, and has studied everywhere from Atlanta to Italy.
She became interested in the art world following her exit from politics, taking an art class with Rosemary Dodd, the 2012 Woman of Distinction, in Atlanta.
“‘Rosemary, I can’t draw,’” Hemmer said, recalling the conversation. “‘Yes you can,’ she said. ‘Your brother is an architect.’
“You all know Rosemary,” she continued. “Off we went! Well, I didn’t stay with drawing but I did fall in love with sculpting.”
Hemmer said the story demonstrates the importance of never giving up on reaching one’s goals.
“I want to impress upon you the impact of having someone encourage you to believe you can achieve goals you never thought possible,” she said. “We never know what may become of an uplifting or challenging remark.”
Hemmer, calling sculpting her “passion,” presented the Girl Scouts with a piece of her own, representing a quail.
“In Exodus, Numbers and Psalms, the quail signifies God’s guidance and aid for his people in the wilderness,” Hemmer said. “To me, Girl Scouts leads young minds on the road to maturity through the wilderness of sometimes confusing thoughts and ideas.”
“She is a forensic artist,” Shaw said. “She’s done community service around the world, and has just done some remarkable things. She attributes a lot of her success to her Girl Scout experience as a child.”
Hemmer, a Gainesville native, was a Hall County commissioner from 1987-1991, and a state senator for the 49th District from 1992-1994.
She has been married to John Hemmer for 45 years, with two children and six grandchildren. She is a member of Grace Episcopal Church.