Former state Rep. William S. "Bill" Jackson was presented the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce on Monday at the business organization's annual meeting.
Jackson, a 16-year veteran of the General Assembly and a former chairman of the first citizen-elected school board in Columbia County, is retired, but serves as an at-large member of the Georgia Board of Corrections. He was appointed to that post Oct. 6 by Gov. Sonny Perdue.
The Lifetime Achievement Award "is a mighty high honor, it's just kind of shocking really," Jackson said in a telephone interview Jan. 15. "Of course I'm very grateful to anyone who respects my public service."
Among his many accomplishments, Jackson is the founder and owner of the Tile Center Inc. He has served as a past national, regional and local director of the Jaycees, is a past president of the Martinez Merchants Association, and he's a former director of the Georgia School Boards Association.
"It was very clear to (the selection committee) that he is and should be looked up to and admired and certainly a very worthy choice for this inaugural award," said Gordon Renshaw, the chamber's executive director.
The mayors of the county's two municipalities and members of the selection committee nominated Jackson for the award.
"He's always worked for the little man," Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau said. "He's helped the city of Grovetown so many times I couldn't keep track."
"Every time we (the city of Harlem) had to deal with (Jackson) he was wonderful to work with," Dean said. "(He's) a gentleman and his reputation across the county is tremendous."
Jackson said he had so many proud moments in public service that it was hard to choose a fondest memory, but said he took a lot of joy in serving on the school board.
"Certainly the four years on the school board were a wonderful and challenging time, it was when we really began to put together an outstanding school system of which we now have," he said. "I enjoyed those four years as much as any in public service that I rendered."
Jackson said his service with the Jaycees helped push him toward public service, and he counts his mother and former school superintendent John Pierce Blanchard as major influences and mentors.
"(Blanchard) challenged me and taught me a lot of things I needed to know in order for me to serve as best I could in public life," Jackson said.
He added that he would call his mother and Blanchard for advice when considering some crucial votes.
"I made them proud and certainly they made me proud," Jackson said.
Jackson said his son, Billy Jackson, who ran his political campaigns and now operates Tile Center Inc., was his motivator and inspiration.
"He's always been a great pride of mine," the former state representative said.
Also honored at the chamber's annual meeting were Gary Crook, the owner of One-Hour Optical, as the Small Business Person of the Year and Melissa Canady as the chamber's Ambassador of the Year.
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