Doris Belcher could not stop giggling.
All she could do was laugh and fan herself during a ceremony Thursday when she was named the Harlem Woman's Club 2007 Citizen of the Year.
"I can't walk," the Harlem resident said as she made her way from the audience to a chair next to a lectern from which her longtime friends and coworkers "roasted" her. "I can't believe this."
Belcher worked in the Columbia County extension office, mainly with the 4-H program, for 32 years until her 1989 retirement. She's still an active volunteer with the 4-H, 4-H advisory board, the Georgia Retired Educators Association and the University of Georgia Extension Retirees Association.
Wendell Stubbs, a retired extension agent who worked with Belcher for many years, referred to her by many names -- Angel, St. Peter, Martha, Mary and Ruth.
"All of these are examples of people who served others, who gave their life to others," Stubbs said. The name "St. Peter" came from a time he scared her at the beach and claims he saw her walk on water, like Peter, while trying to escape a fictitious shark.
Colleagues told stories of late-night adventures at national conferences and the excitement the entire county likely heard when Belcher caught fish on a trip to Thurmond Lake.
Belcher's longtime friend, Mary Brazzell, has another name for her -- butterfly. Brazzell said she understands why Belcher is loved by so many, because she will do anything to help someone and has touched so many lives over her career.
"The next time you see a butterfly, I want you to think of Mrs. Doris Belcher, fluttering about spreading love, support, kindness, great intentions and, most of all, her love for the Lord, for those fortunate enough to be touched by her wings," Brazzell said.
Retired educator and former Columbia County school board members Mary Sanders said she met Belcher in 1957 when Belcher and her husband, Charlie, moved to the area. Sanders said she knew immediately that Belcher loved and was dedicated to children. A career in 4-H fit Belcher, Sanders said.
"She was very, very interested in the progress of children," Sanders said. "And she pushed them whenever she could to always do their best."
Children are not the only ones to whom Belcher has dedicated her time. She is a longtime volunteer for the American Heart Association, has spent more than 40 years volunteering for the American Cancer Society and leads the top fundraising team for the Harlem Relay for Life, an event of which Belcher is a co-chairwoman.
Woman's Club member and award chairwoman Jean Dove said it was an honor to present the award to Belcher, with whom she has worked to organize the annual relay and other events.
"We have really grown close working on the relay over the years," Dove said. "I know her to be very amazing. I don't know where she gets all her energy."
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