Perdue speaks to Scouts as volunteers honored

LAWRENCEVILLE - Three Gwinnett residents were honored Tuesday at the sixth annual American Values Dinner, which featured Gov. Sonny Perdue and was hosted by the Northeast Georgia Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

After marching into the dinner with the American flag hoisted at attention, Northeast Georgia Boy Scout Troop 599 cleared the floor for Perdue, the keynote speaker.

Perdue addressed the crowd of about 300 and discussed what he thinks American values are and how the Boy Scouts were an integral part in teaching boys values and other important life lessons.

"The Boy Scouts stands for something," Perdue said. "And in an age of relativity they learn a creed that prepares them and gives them confidence in any activity."

Following his speech, three Gwinnett County residents were honored with the Distinguished Citizen Award for their years of work in the community.

The first award recipient, Anna Shackelford, was honored for her active life in the Snellville community. She works with the Pilot Club, the Chamber of Commerce and has given her time to the Gwinnett Philharmonic Board and Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services.

Friends Joy Still and Judy Waters introduced Shackelford and spoke of their personal impressions of her.

"She is a virtuous woman and has been a caregiver," said Waters, who has known Shackelford for more than 30 years.

Jim Hinshaw, honoree Howard Fowler's friend for more than 25 years, described Fowler as a man intricately connected to the success of the Hospital Authority of Gwinnett County, where he served as general counsel for 33 years.

Howard has served Gwinnett throughout his life through activities in the Rotary Club and the Boy Scouts. Not only did he serve as former president of the Northeast Georgia Council of Boy Scouts, but he has created an endowment fund to benefit Scouting.

The third Gwinnett resident honored for community services was Jim Cowart. Cowart was described by his friend, Martha Todd, as more than a developer and entrepreneur but a builder of communities with American values. Cowart has been building single-family homes in the Atlanta area since 1958 and has been a strong supporter of communities, as is evident by his commitment of time and money to area YMCAs and the Boy Scouts.

Fundraising dinners like Tuesday's, which raised about $136,000, are crucial to the Boy Scouts of America.

The contributions from the attendees help fund camp scholarships, provide adult leadership training and ensure the Boy Scout camps stay open, said Trip Selman, Northeast Georgia Council Scout Executive.

"Boy Scouts can't exist without support," Selman said.