The retired teachers recognized tireless volunteer Jesse Hunter with their Golden Deed award.
The Pickens Retired Educators Association named volunteer extraordinaire Jesse Hunter as the 2019 Golden Deed winner for his tireless work in the community and his dedication to supporting education.
Hunter was announced as this year’s winner at a banquet held Wednesday, March 13.
Pickens Retired Educators Chair Pat Denney outlined Hunter’s extensive volunteer record, and read a portion of his nomination letter. Hunter’s nominator called him a “Pickens County resident with
an accumulated record of selfless, unpaid service to the Pickens County community for 20-plus years. His volunteerism towards organization, church and community has significantly contributed towards the betterment of the people of Pickens County. [He] is a well-liked, highly respected, patient, positive, and welcoming person who demonstrates attributes of open-mindedness, empathy, integrity, and invaluable leadership skills thus exemplifying the common-minded spirit of volunteerism.”
Denney said Hunter is especially “fond of causes and charities that enhance and further the education for young people. He works tirelessly promoting and supporting literacy for the young and his work with organizations that provide scholarships and financial assistance to worthy Pickens County recipients is remarkable.”
Hunter’s volunteer work includes: former president of Georgia Retired Educators Association (GREA) and president of Pickens County Retired Educators Association (PCREA). He currently serves as a member of PCREA. While president of GREA he chose the Ferst Foundation for Children’s Literacy as the humanitarian project and raised over $50,000 for the program.
He is also involved locally with: CARES (Community Assistance Resource and Emergency Services); the Hope House; the local Ferst chapter; ACES (Appalachian Emergency Children’s Shelter); the Timothy House; the Weekend Snack Program; Good Samaritan Health & Wellness Center; Georgia Mountains Hospice; Pickens County Habitat for Humanity; and the Joy House.
Hunter supports the Teacher of the Year program for Pickens County Schools, attends Georgia Retired Educators’ Day, and actively raises money for scholarships for Pickens High School students entering the teaching field.
Through the Bent Tree Tennis Club and Bent Tree Foundation, he has raised money for students and teachers. He launched the annual tennis tournament, which awards $1,000 scholarships to PHS seniors on the tennis team with over $30,000 awarded to students and another $2,300 that went to tennis courts and windscreens in 2014.
Hunter became chair of the Bent Tree Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2014. He also volunteers at the Talking Rock School House Teaching Museum during Heritage Days, and was president of the Retired Educator’s Museum in Flowery Branch where he now serves as a board member and supports Jasper United Methodist Church where he is a member.
“Thank you so much for this award,” he said. “I’m humbled and appreciative to have my friends and family here with me. Thank you very much.”
Dr. William Sloan, Jr., chair of the Georgia Retired Educators Association, has known Hunter for 10 years and spoke about him as a hard-working, dedicated volunteer with GREA.
“There are two people in my mind at GREA that have been the supreme volunteers, top of the line, and one of them is Jessie Hunter,” he said. “They’ve done more for GREA as a volunteer than paid people.”
GREA Area 15 Director Joe Boland also spoke on behalf of Hunter and his impact in GREA.