Jimmy Poston was taken by surprise when his name was announced as the recipient of the this year's prestigious Darrell M. Johnson Award for community service.
He was honored at the 39th annual Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce banquet Jan. 25 at Belle Meade Country Club.
The late Mr. Johnson sold cars and trucks under the name Johnson Chevrolet in Thomson for many years. He was a business-, community-, civic-minded person, and the honor has been bestowed every year by the chamber since 1986.
Last year's recipient was Harold Eubank, a longtime businessman from the Dearing area.
Foster Wylie, the owner of Curtis Funeral Home in Thomson and the 2006 recipient of the award, said Mr. Poston, an executive with Two-State Construction Co. in Thomson, was most deserving.
"He has served this community on numerous boards, and he's served the church (First Baptist Church of Thomson) in the same capacity on many occasions," Mr. Wylie said. "He has been on several mission trips with me, so that tells you the kind of heart he has and his willingness to give back."
Mr. Wylie described his longtime friend as a kind-hearted man.
"He has always said, 'Foster, tell us how you really feel.' Well, I'll tell you how I really feel. It is an honor and a privilege to present the Darrell M. Johnson Award to Mr. Jimmy Poston," he said.
The audience burst into applause as Mr. Poston made his way from his table to the podium.
"I'm just happy to be here," said Mr. Poston, who wiped tears away as he addressed the large crowd. "I'm thankful for all the prayer warriors and everyone's prayers. Without them, I don't think I'd be here today."
He was alluding to his six-month stay at University Hospital in Augusta last year, when he developed an infection after undergoing bypass heart surgery. At the time, he was serving as chairman of the McDuffie County Planning and Zoning Commission.
Since being discharged, Mr. Poston has been steadily recovering from his near brush with death.