Pierce Blanchard easily recalls the moment more than 40 years ago that sparked a lifelong love of charity work.
As a young bank executive in 1963, Blanchard took a tour of agencies supported by United Way so he could relay the nonprofit's mission to his coworkers.
"I was just blown away by the wonderful people who ran these organizations, the people they served and how much need there was," he said. "It touched me."
His dedication to community service and experience in business earned him the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce's Lifetime Achievement Award at a Monday banquet.
"I was shocked; very surprised," Blanchard said upon learning he was receiving the award. "I didn't even realize I had been nominated for it."
Though semi-retired, Blanchard is the executive vice president and serves on the board of directors for Georgia Bank and Trust. He also is a board member of the Residential Care for the Elderly Authority of Columbia County and the Shield Club of Greater Augusta.
In the past, Blanchard served leadership roles with the Senior Citizens Council, First Tee, Chamber of Commerce, Augusta Symphony League, Junior Achievement, Augusta Technical Institute, Paine College UNCF Campaign, Easter Seals, United Way, The Salvation Army, Augusta Museum of History and the Coalition for Quality Government.
"I've had so much fun working in the community with people letting me carry the banner for different organizations and nonprofits," he said. "It's really a thrill."
Blanchard's dedication even extends to impersonating Elvis Presley and dressing in drag.
Donning an Elvis-inspired white, sequined jumpsuit, Blanchard once played host to a kickoff for a Chamber membership drive. On a different occasion, he wore women's clothes to inject some fun into a celebration for the launch of a new banking program.
"I was so scared when I was going home that the police were going to pull me over for speeding dressed like that," Blanchard joked.
The 67-year-old's greatest career accomplishment, he said, was being asked to keep working.
Though he intended to retire at age 65, Blanchard said Georgia Bank and Trust President Dan Blanton and Chief Operating Officer Ron Thigpen insisted he continue working at the bank part time.
"That was one of the greatest compliments I ever received in my life," he said. "Once you get over 65 years, to have a company want me to be there and be a part of it was so great."
Blanchard said he expects he'll fully retire one day, but doesn't intend to abandon his community service.
"I have enjoyed everything I have done in my life," he said. "I've had so many opportunities. People have trusted me and believed in me and given me chances to do some good things."
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