Concerted Services, Inc. celebrated its 52nd year with an annual banquet held November 3, 2017. The banquet theme was, “From Old to New”, and attendees were able to browse displayed photos of past and present staff and clients. Everyone enjoyed sharing their memories and reflecting on how far the agency has come since its inception. It was also a time to reflect on the work that still lies before us within the communities we serve.

We were privileged to have Mr. Dave Sharpe as our keynote speaker. Mr. Sharpe is a military veteran who serves as Chairman and CEO of STAX solutions and is the founder of Companions for Heroes. Both organizations focus on providing support to military veterans and their spouses as they transition into civilian life and recover from mental illnesses resulting from their service terms. Mr. Sharpe spoke from personal experience, and shared a tragic picture of what our returning veterans are dealing with. His message was heartbreaking, but also a call to action for agencies such as ours that meet community needs to find our role in assisting these veterans. Learn more about the work STAX solutions is involved in by visiting, https://staxsolutions.com.

A presentation of the CSI Community Action Award of Excellence was made to Mrs. Ophelia K. Gaines. Mrs. Gaines retired June 2017 from nearly 43 years of work in the Community Action field. Her dedication and passion for the work CSI does has set the bar for fellow staff members who continue in her footsteps.

Mr. Dave Sharpe

Mrs. Ophelia K. Gaines

Mrs. Carolyn Blackshear

In addition, a new award, the Ophelia K. Gaines Spirit of Community Action, was introduced and presented during the banquet. This award was inspired and named for Mrs. Gaines upon her retirement and intended for an individual who presents a heartfelt commitment for helping those in the community. The recipient of the first annual award was Mrs. Carolyn Blackshear. Mrs. Blackshear has contributed 46 years to work in Community Action and is currently the Educational Talent Search Director. As described in her nomination application (submitted by a fellow staff person) “She is one of this industry’s trailblazers who fought to keep Community Action and its promise alive through some of its toughest times, paving the way for the next generation to succeed. “

Presentation of colors and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by two members of the local 4-H chapter. In addition, guests were entertained by two wonderful A-Capella musical performances by the Appling County High School chorus. Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a delicious meal provided by Sarah’s in the City of Baxley, GA.

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