Hometown heroes make their mark
Local volunteers honored for philanthropy
Callie Flack speaks after being awarded the Gus Whalen Young Philanthropist Award during the Celebration of Community North Georgia’s Hometown Heroes event in Gainesville, on Oct. 12, 2017. - photo by David Barnes

BY KAYLA ELDER

kelder@gainesvilletimes.com

Two local volunteers were recognized Thursday by the North Georgia Community Foundation for their lasting impact on the community. Dr. Buddy Langston has been named as the 2017 Woodrow Stewart Leadership in Philanthropy award recipient and Callie Flack has been named the Gus Whalen Young Philanthropist award recipient.

About 300 guests gave a standing ovation to the two philanthropists, thanking them for their varied service to the community.

“These two individuals embody the mission of the Community Foundation,” NGCF President and CEO Michelle Prater said. “Their passion for serving others and making our community a better place for all is evident through their volunteer and professional leadership, and we are honored to recognize them and celebrate their many lasting contributions.”

Both recipients were honored at the NGCF’s Celebration of Community dinner on Thursday at the Gainesville Civic Center. The evening honored hometown heroes making significant contributions to the north Georgia region and featured a conversation with Doug Ivester, retired chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Co., and hometown philanthropist.

“The North Georgia Community Foundation exists to promote philanthropy,” Flack said. “They are a vehicle to help people improve the community in which we live. They are uniquely positioned to spread that message that anyone can do philanthropic work, which is a great mission.”

The Woodrow Stewart Leadership in Philanthropy Award recognizes individuals who provide leadership in support of philanthropic causes and who motivate others to take leadership roles with nonprofit organizations and community projects.  

“There are people in town I feel are more deserving than I am,” Langston said. “It brings tears to my eyes to be recognized in this way. This is such a wonderful place to live in. This recognition is for all the people that do things.”

With a long history of service to the community, Langston served on the Medical Center Foundation board of trustees for more than 18 years. He was instrumental in creating a culture of physician philanthropy, as his leadership encouraged physician giving and influenced physicians to volunteer on committees and in leadership roles, according to a press release.

“I love North Georgia and feel fortunate to share this community with so many others that do things like this as well,” Langston said. “I hope this encourages the community to continue taking action to help others. Whether you have lived here since birth or have come to live here, you need to join people to be a part of making it a better place.”

Langston also served Sisu, Elachee Nature Center, Lakeview Academy and the Medical Association of Georgia’s “Think About It” campaign. Last year, Langston was awarded the Samuel O. Poole award, which recognizes physician leadership in philanthropy, service to the medical profession and the community.

“As a champion of community health, a visionary leader in our medical community and a passionate advocate for a community that is better tomorrow than it is today, Buddy is the essence of a southern gentleman who gives humbly of himself without expectation of recognition or reward,” said Nancy D. Colston, president and chief development officer of The Medical Center Foundation.

The Gus Whalen Young Philanthropist Award recognizes individuals between the ages of 18 and 40 who show commitment to enhancing the quality of life in the region through volunteer service.

“I did not expect it. I am incredibly honored to be recognized in the same vein as Gus Whalen,” Flack said. “One of the things Gus is famous for saying is that anyone can be a philanthropist. There are so many needs, and it is our duty and responsibility to do what we can to leave a mark on others.”

Flack, a resident of Gainesville for 11 years, has dedicated time and talent to several nonprofit and civic groups in the area.

“Her efforts have enhanced the spirit of community and the quality of life in our region in a lasting and immeasurable way,” said James McCoy, president and CEO of Cumming Forsyth Chamber.

Flack has worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County, Grace Episcopal Church, St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church and Northeast Georgia History Center. 

“I think when you live here and raise a family here, it becomes even more important that the community is a place people want to live in,” Flack said. “This is very humbling, and I hope I can continue to live up to the ‘can do’ and giving attitude of Gus.”

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