Three honored for their service to community

BUFORD - The Community Foundation of Northeast Georgia held an "Evening of Appreciation" Wednesday night at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center.

The event kicked off with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails before guests filed into the Blue Planet Theatre for entertainment and award presentations.

The evening was dedicated to the memory of Paul A. Duke, a founding member and foundation president, who died on March 23 at the age of 84. Duke's wife, Jean, was awarded the first-ever Paul and Jean Duke Humanitarian Award.

The award for Community Leadership and Philanthropy went to Clyde and Sandra Strickland, a Lawrenceville couple who have served Gwinnett County in countless capacities since 1969. Clyde, a native North Carolinian, said he still "gets a tingle" when he sees the Gwinnett County line.

Clyde Strickland founded Metro Waterproofing in 1972 and serves as the company's CEO today.

The Stricklands have a scholarship named after them, are season sponsors of the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and offered their support for advanced cardiac care at Gwinnett Medical Center to the tune of a $1 million donation.

For Clyde, though, it's not about the money - it's about helping people in whatever capacity you can.

"It's such a pleasure when you see somebody (working) in a store and you know the service they do for the community every day," he said. "We love people ... loving people is the greatest gift God ever gave us."

Sandra told a story of how she once had to look up the word "philanthropy" - the love of mankind - in a dictionary. What a wonderful concept, she thought.

"It's not always about us, it's about the world," she said.