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Local couple honored for philanthropy
Anne and George Thomas were honored Tuesday as 2009 Philanthropists of the Year by the North Georgia Community Foundation. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Anne and George Thomas were honored at the North Georgia Community Foundation’s “Philanthropist of the Year” luncheon for their generous contribution of time and resources to a multitude of health care and educational agencies.

The luncheon on Thursday at the First Baptist Banquet Hall recognized the Thomases for their strong community support of area causes throughout the years. They have contributed to Good News Clinics, Northeast Georgia Medical Center Foundation, Brenau University, First Presbyterian Church, Rabun Gap School, Highlands/Cashiers hospital, Good Samaritan Clinic, Atlanta Botanical Gardens and Smithgall Woodland Gardens, among many others.

North Georgia Community Foundation President Jim Mathis said the Philanthropist of the Year honor is bestowed upon individuals within a 15-county region in Northeast Georgia who are known for their humanitarianism. Foundation board members and former recipients select the honoree each year, he said.

“For their lifetime, they’ve been generous to their community and have been supportive of their community,” Mathis said of the Thomases. “They set a wonderful example for what philanthropy and a giving spirit is.”

Mathis said the annual philanthropy award holds much meaning for an area filled with generous individuals.

“We are, indeed, in a very fortunate area where people are very generous,” he said. “That’s what makes Gainesville and Hall County so special.”

Richard Bennett, a Gainesville dentist and president of the Good News Clinics board of directors, spoke at the luncheon and thanked the Thomases for their contributions that allowed the Green Warren Dental Clinic at Good News to purchase dental equipment. He said 43 dentists regularly volunteer their time and served nearly 8,000 Hall County residents last year who did not have health insurance.

“They have created a legacy at Good News Clinics for caring in our community,” Bennett said of the Thomases. “... May God continue to bless each of you and all the lives you touch. We appreciate you.”

Anne Thomas briefly addressed the large crowd.

“George and I would like to thank our family and friends for coming (Tuesday),” she said. “We thank the community foundation for this honor.”