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Lucy Burch named Administrative Professional of the Year

Halfway through the anonymous description of the Administrative Professional of the Year, Lucy Burch buried her face in her hands. It all sounded too familiar.

Mrs. Burch was presented the award during the annual administrative professionals luncheon sponsored by the Thomson-McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce last Wednesday.

"I was totally surprised, shocked and honored," Mrs. Burch said later in an interview. "I never thought it would happen to me. It's the last thing I ever thought would happen. And I was honored to be named with all the people who were selected in the past."

Approximately 120 administrative professionals attended the luncheon, held in the Family Life Center of Thomson First United Methodist Church. Lunch was catered by Forward McDuffie Director Mike Carrington, Thomson Mayor Ken Usry and Charlotte Derry. The bosses of many of the attendees served as waiters - something the ladies seemed to enjoy.

"I'm not used to so much ice water and sweet tea service," the Wilson Co.'s Sandy Shurling said with a laugh.

Kyung Kim, the music director of Thomson FUMC, provided the entertainment, singing a variety of songs and playing his guitar. Door prizes provided by local businesses were given away in a drawing at the end, followed by a contest to select which waiter had the sexiest legs. That award, complete with a crown, went to Stephen Wilson, an insurance agent with Farm Bureau.

"It's great to enjoy all the fellowship," said organizer and Chamber Board President Angela Blair. "Seeing all the hard working administrative professionals relaxing and enjoying the moment while someone else worries about whatever at the office."

Each year, employers send a letter describing why they think their administrative professional should be the one of the year. Nominated by Area Manager Bobby Hildreth, Mrs. Burch has been a customer service representative for Georgia Power Company for 33 years.

"The breadth of her service to our customers goes far beyond the smile, warm greeting and question regarding how they are doing. Lucy's extraordinary service has included customer visits on the way home from work to explain bills to shut-ins, verify a meter number for a new customer, or visit a customer who just needs a visit," Mr. Hildreth said in his letter.

When she learned of a customer's illness or tragedy, Mrs. Burch mailed them a card of compassion and concern, according to Mr. Hildreth. In addition to providing safety reminders and tips to the Georgia Power workers, Mrs. Burch also baked birthday cakes for them.

"Every employee, every birthday," Mr. Hildreth said. "And in the community, Lucy is Georgia Power Company, 24/7," adding that she has been participating in the company's good citizens club that helps the community, the Relay For Life team, Heart Association and March of Dimes fundraiser efforts. She also bakes cakes for the senior citizen center and the nursing home.

Mrs. Hildreth retired last month, but said she will continue to bake cakes once a month for the Georgia Power employees' birthdays, and for the elderly in the community.

"It's just something little to do for people who get so much out of something so little as a slice of cake," she said.

Mrs. Burch and her husband, Harold, have been married for 43 years and live in Dearing. Since retiring, she said she has started volunteering at the Good Samaritan House in Dearing, "visiting folks, going camping and just taking it easy."

She also works on projects with her children. Her son, Todd and his wife, Kim, live in Boneville with their two children, and her daughter, Cheryl Sullivan, lives in Thomson with her three children.

Web posted on Thursday, April 30, 2009

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