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Purcell receives STAR treatment
Ann Purcell
Effingham County IDA CEO Brandt Herndon presents the Community STAR award to Ann R. Purcell on Friday. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
I think there are very few people who have given as much as Mrs. Ann Purcell has to her community. You can tell that she loves it.
Ann R. Purcell

RINCON — Ann R. Purcell was recognized Friday as a Savannah Technical College Foundation Community STAR. 

It might be have been more appropriate, however, to call Purcell as a community “sun” because lots things important to the region have long revolved around her.

“I am amazed at people who give so much of their personal time to their community and their state,” Effingham County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) CEO Brandt Herndon said during a celebration at Savannah Technical College’s Effingham Campus. “I think there are very few people who have given as much as Mrs. Ann Purcell has to her community. You can tell she loves it.

“She has a passion and helps everywhere she goes ...”

 Purcell, whose candidacy was sponsored by the IDA, served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1990-2004 and 2009-2012. She joined the State Transportation Board in 2013 and served as its chairman in 2018-2019.

 Herndon presented the award to Purcell, who received applause from an audience that included government and business officials from the local and state levels, plus her husband, Dr. Dent Purcell.

“Yes, I am passionate,” Purcell said. “Somebody asked me yesterday, as a matter of fact, why I enjoy life like I do. It’s because it’s how my parents brought me up. It’s the community that surrounded me with love as I grew up.

“Following that, it was the fact that my parents were always involved in something — from my dad being Santa Claus during the holidays around Christmas to my mother being involved in every school that I was involved in until I graduated.”

Purcell said her mother even stepped up to help classmates who didn’t have the family support she enjoyed.

“I grew up with that passion of loving where I am and loving the people around me,” Purcell said.

The honoree deflected credit for being named one of 27 Community STARS in 2021. Purcell is the lone one from Effingham County.

“It want to say thank you because it’s just not me that you are honoring as a STAR,” Purcell said. “We are honoring our county. You are here today and being a part of this celebration is a part of me. It’s a part of you because it is the example that we work for to make our community a better place to live — and we are doing that.

“Everyday, we are doing that.”

Purcell, the State Transportation Board’s 1st Congressional District representative, said she is excited about Effingham County and Georgia’s future. She vowed to continue to play a role in it “until I draw my last breath.”

“And I hope that’s no time soon,” she said with a laugh.

After Purcell concluded her remarks, a few audience members offered their thoughts about her, starting with Savannah Technical College President Dr. Kathy Love. Love said the Effingham Campus wouldn’t exist without Purcell’s assistance.

“We appreciate everything you have done ... ,” Love said.

 Other speakers mentioned Purcell’s reputation for being relentless in fighting for Effingham County.

“Ann was a significant force in the legislature by sheer force of personality,” said Rep. Bill Hitchens, who succeeded Purcell in the House of Representatives after her retirement. “... When she wanted something, and I’ve had people tell me — other legislators and department heads up there (at the Capitol) — ‘Just give her what she wants. She will not leave you alone until she gets it.’ ”