Exchange Club to recognize Golden Deeds winner

Published 9:45 am Friday, January 23, 2015

The Brookhaven Exchange Club’s 68th annual Golden Deeds Banquet has committee members setting secret gears in motion in order to ensure that the community member chosen to receive the Golden Deeds Award arrives at the banquet with no idea of what events are to transpire.

The banquet is set to start at 7 p.m. at the Thames Conference Center on the Copiah Lincoln Community College campus.

Recognized at the event, and the main focus of the gathering, is a special member of the community who will receive the Golden Deeds Award given out by each local chapter of the Exchange Club throughout the nation.

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“The Golden Deeds Award is the highest award the club can present someone for their deeds,” Greg Hoff, who is organizing the banquet, said. He explained that a committee chooses the winner of the award from a group of nominations from people anywhere in Lincoln County.

Hoff said many of the people who are nominated and receive the award are doing the service work because it’s their love and their ministry. He shared that these individuals are incredibly humble and are surprised when their name is called at the banquet.

“A lot of lying goes on,” Hoff said regarding the work it takes to get the winning nominee to be present at the event without knowing they are the winner of the award. “Really, there are a lot of families and friends involved with that.”

Ricky Lagrone is a member of the Brookhaven Exchange Club, has served on the selection committee for four years, and said it is not always easy to get people there without them knowing they’re receiving the award.

“Normally we get the person who nominated them to invite them as a guest or as the family to get them there,” Lagrone said.

Although these secretive plans to get the award winner to the banquet usually go as planned, Lagrone said there were a couple of times were organizers were left “biting our nails.” He shared a story about an individual, one particular year, who had another conflicting engagement, leaving he and his colleagues scrambling around. Things eventually worked out and the award was given to the deserving party.

Lagrone said the club utilizes a room where family members and friends hide to further the surprise of the dedicated person receiving the Golden Deeds Award.

Besides surprise, Hoff and Lagrone both said winners of the award usually are very humble.

“They’ll say they’re not deserving,” Lagrone said. “They do their deeds not to be recognized. They are usually people who like to be behind the scenes.”

Also on the agenda for the night are recognition of projects and activities the Exchange Club has done throughout the year, recognition for officers and attendance and the presentation of the John L. Leary Award.

Hoff said the award is named after one of the local chapter’s charter members and goes “to the club member that bests exemplifies true spirit of exchange.”

The event will be catered by the staff of the Thames Conference Center with a Meet-and-Greet beginning at 6:30 p.m. and presentations to begin at 7.