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Chambers top honor bestowed on longtime community champion
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Above, state Rep. Jon Burns congratulates friend Gussie Nease after Nease was named the Treutlen Award winner during the Effingham Chamber of Commerces annual meeting Thursday night. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

A lifelong champion of Effingham County now has the award that bears the name of the one of the county’s most notable forefathers.

Gussie Nease, who has served in both the political arena and in the public service sector, was named the 2015 John Adam Treutlen Award winner Thursday at the Effingham Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting.

“I’m honored and totally surprised and humbled by this award,” Nease said, “but it belongs to a lot of people. Nobody does anything by themselves, and I certainly haven’t done anything in my life by myself. I’ve had the support of my family, my daughters, my son-in-laws, my grandchildren.”

Nease served on the Rincon City Council and also on the Effingham Hospital Authority. She has been chairman of the Effingham Democrats and on the board of Effingham Victim Witness and the United Way of Effingham County.

Though she’s a Rincon resident, she’s been a part of the Springfield Revitalization Corporation and the efforts to bring the former Mars Theatre back to life.

“As far as the Mars Theatre, that award belongs to many, many people who bought bricks, bought seats, baked bread, made donations, came to the movies outdoors and come to the movies indoors,” she said. “It takes a community to make things happen.”

State Rep. Jon Burns read state House and Senate resolutions honoring Nease passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Nathan Deal.

“But tonight is even more special as we recognize someone we love and who loves this county,” Burns said. “She has had a lifetime of commitment to us. Gussie was chosen for this distinct honor because of her dedication in improving our community and for a better quality of life for the citizens of Effingham County. Her contributions to Effingham County and the state of Georgia have a great, positive impact on her fellow citizens.”

Nease, who runs her own real estate appraisal service, has two daughters and four grandchildren. But she deflected any praise coming her way from the crowd at Effingham County High School’s standing ovation.

“I appreciate the honor. Nothing happens with just one person,” she said. “It takes everybody pulling together. We’re a fantastic county already, and we certainly can be even better.”

Yvette Car was named Chamber ambassador of the year and also assumed leadership of the group from outgoing president Scott Hinson.

“I am honored to be in this position today with such a wonderful group of people,” she said. “When I moved to Effingham 20-something years ago, it was like being part of a family.”

Carr operates Burns World Travel in Springfield and said the Chamber’s efforts to improve the community’s quality of life will go forward.

“We will continue to work closely with IDA officials strengthening our commitment and relationship with their economic development efforts,” she said. “Together, we can make a difference in our business and your marketplace. I hope you will work with us to build an even stronger Chamber to serve Effingham County.”