Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson to co-sponsor Inaugural Spirit of DeKalb Awards

DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson. Photo provided to Tucker Observer

Decatur, GA –Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce will co-sponsor the Inaugural Spirit of DeKalb Awards Gala on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia (4355 Ashford Dunwoody Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30346) in celebration of DeKalb County’s 200th anniversary, a press release said.

Beginning at 6 p.m. with a reception and awards ceremony to follow at 7 p.m., the Inaugural Spirit of DeKalb Awards Gala will be the premiere fundraising and social event of the year celebrating the accomplishments of extraordinary DeKalb County residents, businesses, philanthropists, and civic leaders.

“In the spirit of celebrating 200 years, I am excited to begin a tradition of honoring our rich and diverse history, as well as acknowledge those among us who dedicate themselves to making a positive and long-lasting impact on our community,” said Commissioner Cochran-Johnson.

Cohosted by Ryan Cameron, Atlanta Radio Personality and Motivational Speaker, and Lisa Rayam, broadcast veteran, and WABE radio personality, the Inaugural Spirit of DeKalb Awards Gala will feature ten award presentations to deserving recipients in the following categories:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Bill Gates Philanthropist of the Year Award
  • Lou Walker Community Impact Award
  • Arthur M. Blank Innovation Award
  • Public Servant of the Year Award
  • Young Entrepreneur Award
  • Business of the Year Award
  • Chamber Volunteer of the Year Award
  • Business Legacy Award
  • Earl A. Walker Small Businessperson of the Year Award

“The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce has a longstanding tradition of assisting in the advancement of DeKalb’s economic landscape and honoring the county’s most dedicated business leaders,” said Frankie L. Atwater Sr., president and CEO of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. “We are proud to be co-sponsoring the Spirit of DeKalb Awards Gala and participating in the recognition of this year’s outstanding honorees.”

Each attendee will receive a one-of-a-kind, commemorative book highlighting a retrospective timeline of the history of DeKalb County, reflections from community members and elected officials, as well as celebratory notes from businesses and organizations who call DeKalb County home.

Proceeds from the celebration will be donated to the Clarkston Community Health Center (CCHC) as well as the DeKalb County E.M.B.A.R.C. Community Youth Farm to be used towards construction and operational costs as well as much needed equipment.

CCHC is a nonprofit 501c(3) clinic that provides a patient-centered medical home for low-income residents of the City of Clarkston and surrounding communities. CCHC was founded by Mr. Saeed Raees, the late Rev. Ben Johnson and Dr. Gulshan Harjee in May 2013 to establish a health center for uninsured and underinsured individuals in metro Atlanta.

“Clarkston Community Health Center is honored to be one of the Spirit of DeKalb Awards donation recipients,” said Dr. Gulshan Harjee, chief medical officer and cofounder of CCHC. “Our staff consists of doctors and medical personnel who volunteer their time and resources. These funds will assist in our continued commitment to serving individuals and families who have limited access to high-quality healthcare.”

Conceptualized by Commissioner Cochran-Johnson, the DeKalb County E.M.B.A.R.C. Community Youth Farm will be a park and community hub that will provide a place for children to grow food and come together to learn, engage and sustain. E.M.B.A.R.C., which stands for Education, Market, Botanicals, Agriculture, and Recreational Center, is currently under construction, and when complete, will boast a country market store with a test kitchen, a green wall and herb garden, fields and crops that will yield produce to be sold, an outdoor educational space, and an outdoor activity building.

“Super District 7 is proud to support these organizations and their community efforts by providing the critical support they need to impact lives and transform our community,” said Commissioner Cochran-Johnson.

In addition to awarding some of DeKalb County’s best, brightest, and most deserving individuals and organizations, the Inaugural Spirit of DeKalb Awards will hold a silent auction, facilitated by Heritage Charity Auctions, of which proceeds will benefit the aforementioned organizations.

The black-tie affair is supported by sponsor and co-chair committee members Curley Dossman Jr., president of the Georgia-Pacific Foundation; Rodney D. Bullard, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Chick-fil-A Inc.; Mack Wilbourn, owner and president of Mack II Inc.; and Gregory B.

Levett Sr., founder, and CEO of Gregory B. Levett and Sons Funeral Home & Crematory Inc. Other distinguished sponsors include Georgia Power, Verizon, Agnes Scott College, Goodwill of North Georgia and Shai Boston LLC.

DeKalb County residents, businesses, and organizations are invited to attend and can access more information and purchase tickets at www.spiritofdekalbawards.com. For sponsorship opportunities or to purchase a table, please email Allison M. Slocum at [email protected] or call 470-547-2696.

For inquires, media coverage or to schedule an interview with Commissioner Cochran-Johnson, Frankie L. Atwater or Dr. Gulshan Harjee, email [email protected] or call 470-547-2696.

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