A Kennesaw councilman was among three Cobb County residents honored Wedneseday by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce Northwest Cobb Area Council as Citizens of the Year.
Bill Thrash was Kennesaw's recipient and said that receiving the award was a true honor.
"I'm just honored and humbled," Thrash said. "There's not much you can say. It's just a super, super honor to be chosen by your friends and those you serve."
Thrash's friend of nine years, Shannan Smith, said that, despite the pain and ups and downs of cancer that the councilman faces on a daily basis, he continues to serve others. In fact, last Thursday when she took Thrash to the hospital after he could hardly speak because of the pain he was in, Smith said Thrash spent time on the phone with his daughter, who is preparing for college final exams.
"I witnessed incredible strength, love and devotion," Smith said. "He encouraged her to study hard. He told her he was OK."
Acworth's Citizen of the Year, Andy Duncan, is operator of Chick-fil-A's Mars Hill Road and Cobb Parkway locations. In addition to giving back to his company, Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood said Duncan also gives back to the community by being a Partner in Education, working with MUST Ministries, and being a member of the Acworth and Kennesaw Business Associations, among other things.
"He has the heart of a servant leader, rarely says, 'No,' but always says, 'Is this enough?' " Allegood said, referencing the subject of the keynote speech given by Bryan Crute of Destiny Metropolitan Worship Church.
Duncan, who Allegood said is a humble person, made a brief remark about his award.
"I don't know how you (vote for) one guy in a community for this," he said. "I'll accept this, and it will go in my office, but I'm accepting this for a community."
The group also recognized state Sen. Lindsey Tippens (R-Marietta) as West Cobb's Citizen of the Year. Tippens, who Cobb Schools Foundation Executive Director Sheri Brante called a true servant leader, served for 12 years on the Cobb County Board of Education. And, for eight of those years, he donated his Board of Education salary, which funded 110 teacher grants and more than 80 college scholarships.
"He's not big on touting himself," Brante said. "As executive director of the Cobb Schools Foundation, I can only say, 'Thank you.' His commitment to Cobb County Schools really kept us going."
Tippens said receiving the award was very humbling and that he considers it a privilege to serve as an elected official.
"Servant leadership is something that goes back as far as I can remember," he said. "It's a distinct privilege to represent your neighbors and friends in elected office. It's humbling. That's all I can say. It's my pleasure to serve, and I appreciate the recognition."
Each winner was given a glass plaque, which Northwest Cobb Area Council Chairman Ron Sumpter said was just a small token of what the men have done for their communities.
"The greatest way you can love is by serving, by giving away part of yourself," Sumpter said.
The Citizens of the Year were selected by local residents of the three communities.
"They're your customers," Allegood said. "They're the folks who sit next to you on Sunday morning. They're your friends."
The Cobb Chamber Northwest Cobb Area Council has recognized Citizens of the Year since 1990.