AUGUSTA - The Walsh Room at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel in Augusta filled with leaders and shareholders of Georgia-Carolina Bancshares, Inc. who were bursting with pride Tuesday afternoon at their annual meeting.
But the first item on the group's agenda was to honor one of McDuffie County's own. The bank recognized Thomson businessman George Otis Hughes for his retirement as a founding board member of the McDuffie Bank and Trust/Georgia-Carolina Bancshares, Inc.
Thomson businessman George Otis Hughes (left) and his proclamation are pictured with Georgia-Carolina Bancshares Board Chairman Sammy Fowler (center) and CEO Pat Blanchard.
"We are very proud of you, Mr. Hughes," said Patrick Blanchard, CEO of the bank, after he presented a special resolution of appreciation. "I want to also add that later today, in our organizational meeting, we plan to elect Mr. Hughes to be Director Emeritus...so we can continue to draw on his expertise."
The shareholders approved a special resolution of appreciation which states "...whereas in his early career, Mr. George O. Hughes was employed in construction at Fort Gordon...then a supervisory position with a coffee company...founded G. O. Hughes Furniture Company...served on the Thomson-McDuffie Development Authority...served for 30 years on the state board, and later as chairman, of the Department of Family and Children Services...was a founding member of McDuffie Bank and Trust Company...therefore...the shareholders commend Mr. George O. Hughes for his many contributions to his state, the region, his community, and Georgia-Carolina Bancshares, Inc."
"I didn't know he did a lot of that stuff," said Mr. Hughes' granddaughter, Grace Blackmon-Hughes, 12, as she read the resolution. "I'm real proud of him."
Mr. Hughes' other grandchildren, Sara Blackmon-Hughes and Caleb Clauson-Hughes, both 13, and his daughters, Linda Blackmon-Hughes and Sandra Ann Clauson-Hughes, also attended the event.
"I'm very proud of him, he's worked hard," Linda Blackmon-Hughes said. "This (retirement) gives him time to travel, he has plans to travel ... with his grandchildren. He's the most active of all men I know his age. I don't know anyone else like him."
Law requires board members retire when they reach 80-years-old. Mr. Hughes admits he's actually 81, and he's "never ready to give up."
"I give a lot of credit to the board members and to the bank officials. I believe at the front of success is cooperation and hard work, and they have both," Mr. Hughes said.
Mr. Blanchard said the board of directors of McDuffie Bank and Trust reorganized the bank into a holding company in 1996, forming Georgia-Carolina Bancshares, Inc. Total assets in 1996 were $38 million, which grew to $332 million in 2004.
"Mr. Hughes, I personally want to tell you that I appreciate you, your integrity is above reproach. You have placed this institution first above yourself. ... We should all be like you," said board chairman Sammy Fowler.