GBPI saluted five remarkable Georgians at its 10th anniversary “Possibility Gala” dinner Oct. 2, 2014 in Atlanta.
About 330 people, including lawmakers from both parties, rose often to deliver standing ovations for the honorees and for sentiments expressed by speakers during the evening. WSBTV Channel 2’s Jocelyn Dorsey served as the event’s emcee.
A three-minute video tribute to GBPI’s milestone anniversary wowed the crowd and is now publicly available. GBPI Executive Director Alan Essig delivered the keynote address, which was part history lesson and part blueprint for the next ten years. He also thanked the many current and former board and staff members on hand to celebrate.
Much of the applause during the evening was devoted to the five honorees, who each spoke of their passion for their work and their support of GBPI’s mission. Three honorees received Visionary Awards and two received Legislative Leadership Awards. The honorees are:
- Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, Legislative Leadership Award, for his support for Medicaid expansion
- Sen. Calvin Smyre, Legislative Leadership Award, for his four decades of service to vulnerable Georgians
- Jack Hardin, Visionary Award, for his dedication to helping Atlanta’s homeless
- Sen. George Hooks (retired), Visionary Award, for his responsible and compassionate stewardship of the state budget
- Pat Puckett, Visionary Award, for her work to improve the lives of people with disabilities
GBPI’s Essig closed his speech by setting up the policy challenge ahead for Georgia and sounding the anniversary’s hopeful theme at the end.
“Winning people over to our vision of Georgia as a better, more equitable place can be an uphill struggle,” he said. “The ideological barriers can seem impenetrable. But sometimes after a sustained and persistent effort, you can almost hear a closed mind creak open. That’s the opening we need to show Georgia what’s possible.”