ATLANTA - The general counsel for the Newtown Florist Club in Gainesville, Dexter Wimbish, was recognized Tuesday by the State Bar of Georgia with the 2013 Chief Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service.
The club began in 1950 as a service group that would provide flowers to families in the Newtown Community when they lost a family member. But in the late 1970s, it began to evolve into a community action group that focused on environmental concerns in their neighborhood and the inherent health problems that arose from those environmental concerns.
Wimbish was nominated for the award by the club's Executive Director, Faye Bush. (Letter of nomination posted below.)
Since 1998, these awards have been presented to honor lawyers and judges in Georgia who have made "significant contributions" to their communities and demonstrate the "positive contributions" of members of the Bar beyond their legal or official work.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest recognition given by the State Bar of Georgia and the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism, co-sponsors of the Justice Robert Benham Awards for Community Service. This year it was given to former U.S. Sen. David Gambrell of Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell Berkowitz, PC, Atlanta. This award is reserved for a lawyer or judge who, in addition to meeting the criteria for receiving the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service, has demonstrated an extraordinarily long and distinguished commitment to volunteer participation in the community throughout his or her legal career.
Awards are given to selected attorneys in the judicial districts of Georgia from which nominations were received. This year's other recipients are: The Honorable Joe C. Bishop, Albany; J. Michael Cranford, Macon; Asha F. Jackson, Decatur; Kimberly Esmond Adams, Peter Anderson and Audra A. Dial all of Atlanta; The Honorable Robert M. Crawford, Thomaston; Maziar Mazloom, Marietta; Dexter M. Wimbish, Madison; Peter A. Gleichman, Woodstock; and Laura C. Nehf, Athens.
These honorees, according to the State Bar, have served a wide range of community organizations, government-sponsored activities, and humanitarian efforts outside of their professional practices and judicial duties. Their fields of service include: youth athletics and mentoring programs, literacy programs, social services, church and religious activities, politics, promotion and support for legal aid programs, community development, education, sports, recreation, and the arts.
These awards recognize the commitment of Georgia lawyers to volunteerism, encourage all lawyers to become involved in community service, improve the quality of lawyers' lives through the satisfaction they derive from helping others, and raise the public image of lawyers. All honorees are members of the State Bar of Georgia.
LETTER FROM FAYE BUSH NOMINATING DEXTER WIMBISH
November 29, 2012
Ms. Nneka Harris-Daniel
Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism
Suite 620, 104 Marietta Street, N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303
Dear Ms. Daniel:
This letter is written in support of the nomination of Attorney Dexter M. Wimbish for the 14th Annual Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service. Attorney Wimbish has been a constant presence in the North Georgia area since the early 1990's when he began his public interest career assisting African-American churches who had been targeted by arson to rebuild the churches and their congregations. He helped a number of churches across the State of Georgia leverage thousands of dollars in resources while also assisting in the development of a national organization (National Coalition for Burned Black Churches) that provides continuing support for the rebuilding process.
His community service work in this area has also included working with the Northeast Black Leadership Council to address issues of inequity in the criminal justice and educational systems by helping to establish mentor programs, advocating for more diversity in the university system, and working to help build bridges between African-Americans and an emerging Hispanic population in the Northeast Georgia area that helped us establish North Georgia's first Black and Brown Alliance. Furthermore, Dexter has also helped our community advocate for a cleaner environment over the past two decades including fighting against landfills in minority communities, pushing for stronger regulations on air and water emissions, helping develop a program to teach young people how to test for dioxin and lead through a Community Bucket Brigade, and helping raise more than $30,000 in seed money for the Ruby Wilkins Community Garden in Gainesville, GA.
Dexter has also assisted countless individuals in the North Georgia are by providing often times free legal advice and representation to ensure that they are treated fairly in the legal system. He is generous with his time and passion for justice is inspiring. In 2010 Attorney Wimbish overcame a battle with stage 4 colon cancer that almost took his life, but just as soon as he recovered he was right back in the community giving his time and energy. Therefore, the Newtown Florist Club highly recommends and nominates Dexter M. Wimbish for the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service.
Faye Bush, Executive Director