In Clarence Morgan’s point of view, the Good Lord is keeping him around for a reason.
The longtime Effingham County Recreation and Parks director, who routinely shies away from getting awards, was the center of attention Thursday night as he received the John Adam Treutlen Award from the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce. And it came not long after Morgan received a stent, used to buttress weak arteries, for the 17th time.
“The Good Lord saw fit to keep me around,” Morgan said. “I got a 17th stent, and I’m still trucking.”
An Effingham County native, Morgan graduated from Effingham County High School and Georgia Southern College before becoming a teacher and coach in the Effingham school system for more than 30 years. Morgan became involved with the county recreation program n 1975.
“It has grown under his leadership to what we have today,” said longtime friend Lamar Allen.
State Rep. Bill Hitchens, who read a resolution passed by the General Assembly honoring Morgan, called Morgan his “go-to guy.”
“Clarence has been a great friend,” Hitchens said. “I’m just proud to be able to add Clarence’s name to that list (of Treutlen Award recipients).”
Morgan, who also was instrumental in starting the Effingham Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, also has been a United Way volunteer for 25 years. He also chaired the annual campaign for three years.
“He has dedicated his adult life to improving the quality of life in Effingham County; he has dedicated much of his life to the youth of Effingham County,” Hitchens said.
Morgan deflected the praise and credited the assistance of many others, including his past and present staff and other volunteers involved in recreation.
“I have never done it by myself,” he said. “To say the least I love Effingham County. I am so proud to be an Effingham Countian. I love you. I love everybody. I have never done this without people, good people. Thank you, you made me what I am today.”
County commissioners are expected to approve soon a contractor to build the planned central rec complex. The facility will occupy more than 100 acres off Highway 21 and Ralph Rahn Road, and Morgan is eager to get started.
“If you have not seen our plans, you need to see them,” he said. “It is going to be fabulous. It is going to be something Effingham County is going to be proud of. We wished we had it for years.”