Rincon resident Ann R. Purcell, a member of the State Transportation Board of Georgia and former state representative, has been honored by the Federal Republic of Germany with its Cross of the Order of Merit for her efforts in building cultural and economic bridges between Germany and the State of Georgia over the last several years.
The Cross of the Order of Merit is awarded by the president of Germany and represents one of the most supreme distinctions the Federal Republic of Germany can confer upon individuals, whether German or foreign. The award was instituted in 1951 by Federal President Theodor Heuss and is the only honor that may be awarded in all fields of endeavor. It is the highest tribute that can be paid to individuals for services to the nation.
Consul General Christoph Sander conferred the Cross of the Order of Merit on Purcell at a ceremony held in Atlanta. Sander noted many of Purcell’s activities, including her involvement as president of the Georgia Salzburger Society, her visit to the many areas of Germany and Austria, addressing the annual meeting of the German Salzburger Verein e. V. in Berlin, and her involvement in the monument erected to honor Rev. Johann Martin Boltzius, a native of Germany who was the first pastor of the Ebenezer settlement in 1734, located in Effingham.
She promoted the finalization of the agreement for making Halle, Germany and Savannah sister cities. Purcell acknowledged in the state General Assembly the relationship of Georgia and the Federal Republic of Germany.
Purcell has visited the Francke Foundation (Franckische Stiftungen), Halle, Germany and worked with Dr. Thomas Mueller Bahike, director, to promote the publication of books about the lives of the first settlers in Ebenezer. She has hosted many groups of German visitors to Georgia.
During the ceremony, Sander expressed his appreciation to Purcell for her cooperation over many years fostering German-American friendship in Georgia. He also shared correspondence with her from his predecessor, Dr. Lutz Görgens, consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany, now serving in Tokyo.