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Chamber honors a lifetime of work

POSTED: June 8, 2009 6:31 p.m.
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The author of an authoritative tome on the life of John Adam Treutlen was honored with the award named after the state’s first constitutional governor Thursday night.

The Effingham County Chamber of Commerce bestowed Edna Morgan with the John Adam Treutlen Award, indicative of a lifetime of community service, at its annual meeting.

“This is quite a surprise,” said Morgan, 94, a retired teacher. “This is indeed an honor, and I don’t feel I deserve it at all. I just did what I had to do.”

Incoming Chamber president Alice DeForest said Morgan was “a lover of education, a prolific reader of history and published writer of local history and a most loved mother and grandmother and a devoted community volunteer.”

Morgan has lived in Effingham for 71 years, having moved to Clyo after graduating from the College of Charleston in 1935. She also obtained a master’s degree from George Peabody College. Her book “John Adam Treutlen, Georgia’s First Constitutional Governor, His Life, Real and Rumored” was published in 1998.

She also served as a Sunday school teacher, was a member of the library board and organized a Girl Scout troop in Clyo.

She was presented with proclamation from Gov. Sonny Perdue, read by state Rep. Jon Burns, a former student of hers.

“Since you taught me over at Clyo, I hope I made you proud,” he said. “I can only tell you what an honor it is for me to be on this stage to help give this recognition. Miss Edna came to Clyo on the train from Charleston and what a blessing it has been for us as individuals and for our community and for our state.”

In the proclamation, Perdue called Morgan “a truly remarkable citizen of Effingham County and our state. She has contributed much to the betterment of the community through education and the preservation of our history” and honored her “commitment to the betterment of Effingham County.”

As part of the meeting, outgoing Chamber president Michael Lee turned the gavel over to DeForest, marking the end of his year at the helm and the start of DeForest’s tenure. 

“The last 12 months have been challenging for most, if not all, of us,” Lee said. “The chamber has remained steadfast in its mission to support business in Effingham County.”

Some of the successes of the Chamber over the past year include the existing industry council, Lee said, which under the leadership of Michelle Liotta is organizing a forum for larger industries to meet and discuss issues.

The entrepreneur friendly task force, headed by magistrate Judge Scott Hinson and Talbert Edenfield, serves as one-stop resource for Chamber members and startup businesses, Lee said. The Chamber also held its first small business summit.

Lee thanked the Chamber ambassadors and the Chamber staff for their efforts and said the Leadership Effingham program, which had 16 participants in the last class, “is alive and well.” The group took part in projects that included Effingham’s gateways, tourism, county facilities and transportation.

“What came out of that were good ideas we need to stop and take a look at it,” Lee said.

He also said the Gateways project that started under president Freddy Long is making headway. The state Department of Transportation recently awarded Rincon a grant to begin the improvements to a stretch of Highway 21.

“We should see some of the fruits of that labor begin this fall,” Lee said
The Chamber also will move forward with Rincon officials and explore options for possible grants to enhance county’s portion of the highway from Rincon city limits to the Effingham-Chatham county line, he said.

Lee also said the unified front Effingham County presented to state officials at the DOT and the Environmental Protection Division during Effingham Days at Capitol made an impact on state officials.

“We developed a coordinated agenda and an issue-driven visitation program,” he said.

“When we went to talk with the DOT and EPD having every entity represented was huge in the eyes of the state.”

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