With a dining hall filled with grateful northeast Georgia residents, including generous event sponsors, Georgia’s 82nd Governor and First Lady were honored at the eighth annual Sandy Beaver Entrepreneurial Leadership Awards Dinner held on August 11 in Riverside Academy’s Alumni Hall.
“We gather this evening to honor two remarkable leaders, Georgia’s 82nd Governor and Georgia’s First Lady – the Honorable Nathan Dean and Mrs. Sandra Deal. Each is rightly deserving of very special honors, and together, they have been a power couple, making a remarkable impact on the local Gainesville/Hall County community, northeast Georgia region, state of Georgia, and beyond. They defy mathematics – one plus one, in their case, equals ten,” stated President Stanley C. "Staś" Preczewski.
During their two terms, the Governor led the state to become number one in the nation for business for six consecutive years, a first in Georgia history, and helped create more than 800,000 private sector jobs. Mrs. Deal continued her life-long priority of promoting literacy, including her “Read Across Georgia” tour, where she visited and read to all 159 counties and 181 school districts.
Under Governor Deal’s leadership, Georgia’s job growth outpaced the national average, while its population jumped from 10th to 8th nationally. He led several reform efforts, but the overhaul of Georgia’s Criminal Justice system was one of the most significant and became a model for other states and the federal government.
Continuing her life-long dedication to encouraging childhood education, First Lady Deal promoted a statewide effort to strengthen and support families and communities. Among her many accomplishments, she takes great pride in the “With a Servant’s Heart” initiative launched in 2011.
The couple believes that a good education is the key to future success.
Unforeseen circumstances prevented the Former Governor and First Lady from attending the formal part of the program.
“Thank you all for sharing in this evening, and special thanks to Riverside, which is truly a part of the Deal family and serves such an important function in this community. My parents would be quick to say that these accolades are not for them but for everyone who helped them on their journey and in their accomplishments. They are the ones deserving of the credit,” stated Judge Jason Deal, as he and his sister Katie Deal Comeau accepted the awards on behalf of their parents,
RMA’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program was created in 2014 through the visionary leadership of several alumni. The dinner is held in August each year, drawing attendance by community leaders and business owners, as well as RMA trustees, alumni, families, and friends of the Academy.
Proceeds and donations from the dinner help the Riverside Military Academy Foundation provide partial scholarships as need-based tuition assistance so deserving young men can attend RMA.