One thing I have to keep reminding myself about as a columnist is that just because I wrote about something, it doesn't mean everybody read it. Actually, it doesn't even mean anybody read it. But I was talking with someone recently who considers herself a loyal reader, which she is. Only problem is, she hasn't been around for the entire 14 years I've been writing.
This conversation dealt with what is great about Gwinnett and all I've written about its being the biggest, the best and the birth of. She just hasn't lived here long enough to realize all these honors, so I'm writing this column for her and anybody else relatively new to Gwinnett.
Let's start with the biggest. Both our Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society and Gwinnett Masters Special Olympics for special-needs adults are the biggest in Georgia. And the biggest salt water fishing club in America, the Atlanta Saltwater Sportsman's Club, is based right here in Gwinnett.
Then there's the best. I can't list the dozens of state and national awards Gwinnett Parks and Recreation has garnered over the years, but the most notable was the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in 2008.
Shiloh Middle School and Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful have both won international Arbor Day Foundation awards and Berkeley Lake, Duluth, Lilburn, Norcross, Snellville and Suwanee all bear the title of Tree City Community. Along with our Boy Scouts we can be proud that the Northeast Georgia Council, which serves Gwinnett County, has the distinction of being the only council in the nation to be recognized as a Quality Council for 26 consecutive years. I'm so glad I saved the Quality patch I wore on my Den Leader's uniform a quarter of a century ago.
Gwinnett County also has the honor of being the birth place of several charities, churches and businesses. The Dream House for Medically Fragile Children was to the best of anyone's knowledge, the first place in America set up to take medically fragile children out of an institutional environment and care for them in home-like surroundings. The BAPS mandir in Lilburn, when it was built, was the biggest temple of its kind in the western hemisphere. Trail Dames, a hiking club for women of a curvy nature, started with Anna Huthmaker in Duluth and now has nearly 10 branches around the nation. And in 1997, when Johnny Morrison of Bass Pro Shops wanted to see if his business would fly outside of Missouri, he chose Gwinnett County for his first pilot store. Due to Gwinnett's support, Bass Pro Shops now has more than 50 stores all over North America.
And I must mention benevolence because for nine years in a row Gwinnett County raised more money for Relay for Life than any other community in the world.
I think all of this is worth repeating.
Susan Larson is a writer who lives in Lilburn. E-mail her at email@example.com.