DULUTH - This year's Great Days of Service kickoff began with food and mingling, but the real reason for the evening was soon clear.
Gwinnett Coalition of Health and Human Services Executive Director Ellen Gerstein said the purpose of the gathering Wednesday night at Wild Bill's in Duluth was to recognize the sponsors and coordinators for this year's program.
Barbara King, executive vice president of Primerica Financial Services, was awarded the Thomas James Corporate Involvement Award for her and Primerica's multiple years of work with the coalition.
"I can't think of any company and person that deserves this award more," Gerstein said.
The recognition was a surprise to King who said she and Primerica have been supporting the coalition since its inception.
"I'm totally in shock, that's for one thing," King said. "It was a great pleasure for us when we got to the point where we could do great corporate citizenship. Gwinnett County has been very good to us, and we're so glad we can be good to Gwinnett County."
Susanne Thomas, a coalition steering committee member, was also recognized for her commitment.
She received the Above and Beyond Award for her work over the past six years and for her dedication to the program.
Thomas said she helped recruit and set up more than 50 of this year's projects for Gwinnett Days of Service.
"I just do this because I love it," Thomas, a retiree of the Coca-Cola Co., said of her work.
Service projects begin this weekend throughout the county for the two-day program filled with volunteer projects for nonprofit agencies and schools around the county.
Coalition Associate Director Nicole Love said anyone interested in volunteering or donating funds for Great Days of Service can visit www.gwinnettcoalition.org for more information.
SideBar: If You Go
What: Great Days of Service
When: Saturday and Sunday
Info: To volunteer or donate, go to www.gwinnettcoalition.org