Valdosta Daily Times

October 5, 2012

McGahee named 2012 Distinguished Citizen

Dinner raises money for local Boy Scout chapter

Jason Schaefer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Wine and a three-course steak dinner were served in formal fashion at the Valdosta State University Student Union Thursday night in honor of the Alapaha Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, but the food was not the main event of the evening.

Through the achievements of the former South Georgia Medical Center CEO James McGahee, who was an Eagle Scout when he was a boy, the presenters proved that the morals of Boy Scouts serve to create a lifetime tradition of excellence.

“The Scout oath says ‘On my honor, I will do my best’,” McGahee announced in a speech to the audience of more than 200. “It is because of this that I am confident that Boy Scouts are destined to be successful, to be leaders and to be distinguished citizens. They have pledged on their honor to do their best and to do their duty to God and country.”

McGahee’s life served as an example of distinguished citizenship. He is a U.S. Army Veteran and served as a CPA, a high school teacher and a member on a variety of community boards.

As CEO of SGMC, McGahee worked to establish a better stroke treatment center, which Neurohospitalist Dr. S. Brian Dawson now runs. Dawson introduced the key speaker at the event, Mayo Clinic Vascular Neurologist Dr. Kevin Barrett.

Barrett spoke on the importance of better and more timely treatments for stroke victims and presented the 2012 Distinguished Citizen Award, a silver statue of a man standing tall, to McGahee.

“These people we’ve honored exemplify the tenets of scouting, who have left the guideposts for other Scouts to see and follow as they go through their lives,” Event Chairman Johnny Dukes said.

Eagle Scouts Dalton Hart and Asher Brooks presented the colors at the event, and former Boy Scouts in attendance, of which there were more than 30, were asked to stand and be recognized before the program began.

The seats at the 25 tables were sold for $150 apiece to raise money for the Alapaha Area Council and the BSA. The event is held bi-annually and is the largest fundraiser the Council has, according to Laura Love, who helped plan the event.

Valdosta State University Jazz Faculty —T odd Leavitt on upright bass, David Springfield on piano, Joren Cain on alto saxophone and Paul Campiglia on drums — performed for the event.