The 2013 GWTC Awards Presentation

A view from David Yon

I swear it is not just because they let me do a wonderful presentation.  I really think the Awards Committee did a fantastic job this year.  Let’s start with the venue.  After a couple of years at Bradley’s Retreat, they recognized the need to move the presentations closer into town.  They hit a home run with they chose Goodwood Museum and Gardens.  The setting was just perfect to recognize the special performances and contributions in the 2013.  And the selections – well the winners were all very deserving.   Congrats to Jeanne O’Kon, Felton Wright, Mandy Hudson, Lisa Unger and Vince Molosky for a job well done.

They also moved the start time up to 5:30 for social time and 6:00 to start the awards.  By 8:45 everyone had their awards in hand.   Bill McGuire was back as MC and did us all proud.  The crowd that showed up was strong, the largest in several years.  All 150 chairs were taken, the tables around the edge were full and a lot of people stood around the edges to take it all in.

Unsuspecting Andy Roberts got things going by presenting the Community Award to Applied Innovations, a company which has provided free and outstanding web hosting for 4 years now.   They had to overcome the stereotype Andy created when he offered “my cousin Jesse, he can handle this for you.  No questions asked.”  But they have done a great job.

Bill Dillon thought the main focus of his night was presenting the Female Triathlete of Year Award to a strong, affable, noteworthy, dedicated triathlete who is full of youth, whose name conveniently is Sandy Holt.  He did an excellent job with his presentation.  Bill barely made it back to his seat, though, before Kathy McDaris took to the stage to present the Male Triathlete of the Year award to Mr. Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop….Bill Dillon

Felton Wright, GWTC club President present a special award – Say Cheese Please to recognize the amazing efforts of Fred Deckert and Herb Wills to provide race participants with quality pictures of races and other events every weekend, often doing more than one event. 

The Volunteer of the Year Award is probably the most competitive award the committee gives away.  GWTC is filled with great volunteers.  But when Tom Perkins took the stage to present the award to Vicky Verano, it was without a doubt a great choice.  Consider this fact – last year GWTC rented equipment to 114 different groups. That is a lot of volunteering.

I had the pleasure of presenting the Race Director of the Year Award to Connie Clarke for her outstanding effort in bringing back the Shamrock Scurry.  And for how she has been teaching us all some very important lessons on living life.

The Cleveland-Caldwell Award is a very special award.  Last year for example, it went to Bill Lott.  So, when Beth Alexander moved to the podium, everyone enthusiastically leaned forward to hear who the recipient for 2013 would be.  The choice was brilliant – Chika Okoro.  She has done so much to advance the sport of running in Tallahassee.

Obviously, a running club holds the Runners of the Year in high esteem.  The list of past winners is so impressive.  They are impressive, not solely because of how they run, but also because of the quality of human beings they are.  Reikan Lin obviously understands this and he explained it very well while presenting the Female Runner of the Year Award to GWTC fashion model, Paula O’Neill.  Stanley Linton is certainly a class person; after all he was classy enough to recognize Paul Hoover, for all of his help and mentoring.  But when Herb Wills presented the Male Runner of the Year Award to him, he simply laid out one of the most dominating performances any runners has ever had in GWTC.  After all, Stanley won 27 races and scored probably the highest grand prix total in GWTC history.

That left the Reverend Gary Griffin to present the Hall of Fame Award, the most sacred of awards, to a man whose impact on the club has been awesome, but who always runs from the limelight.  Bill Hillison’s time was long overdue, but it was worth the wait.  Of course, by the time Gary was done preaching we all knew just how deserving Bill was.

Mary Jean Yon wrapped the evening up by presenting the Great Leap Forward special award to Andy Roberts (remember, unsuspecting) and the omnipresent Peg Griffin for getting the club “on line” to vote in 2013.  Well done!

It was night to be thankful for such good people.