The Rotary Club of Gainesville bestowed its highest annual honors on a state health official and a former Gainesville mayor at its Annual Rotary Banquet Monday night.
Dr. David Westfall was named Rotary's 2016 Man of the Year, while Emily "Sissy" Lawson was named the club's Woman of the Year at the event at the Chattahoochee Country Club.
Westfall, the State Director of Public Health for District 2, was recognized for continuously seeking ways to improve the lives of the citizens of Georgia, according to information from the local club.
"His leadership skills developed early as he was an Eagle Scout and then went on to serve as a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy where he was voted the most outstanding Clinical Instructor at the US Naval Aerospace Regional Medical Center," his nomination read.
"Dr. Westfall has led a variety of local nonprofits, from Elachee Nature Center to the Edmondson Telford Center. He is best know for his vision in establishing the Good News Clinic where he was one of the founding physicians."
A native of Gainesville, Lawson became the first woman elected to Gainesville City Council in 1985. She became the city's first female mayor in 1991 and served in that position again in 2003. Both her grandfather, Samuel Dunlap, Jr. and great grandfather, Samuel Dunlap, Sr. served as mayors of Gainesville.
"Mrs. Lawson led the way in establishing many local non-profits such as the Elachee Nature Center, Friends of the Park, and Gateway House. She also has served on a variety of boards in the community such as the Botanical Garden of Georgia, North Georgia Community Foundation and the Quinlan Visual Arts Center to name a few. She was named a Woman of Distinction in 2010 by the Girl Scouts," read Lawson's nomination.
In addition to the Man of the Year and Woman of the Year honors, the Rotary Club of Gainesville presented Jeanne Hanlin with the Sidney O. Smith Fellowship Award for most outstanding Gainesville Rotary Club member. Lee Highsmith received the Guardian of Ethics Award, recognizing a Rotarian who exemplifies the attributes and passion for ethics in vocation, business and personal life. Also, Blair Diaz received the Lee Arrendale Vocational Excellence Award for the service of a Rotarian to society through excellence in their vocation and who exhibits Rotary's motto of "Service Above Self."
The Rotary Club of Gainesville, chartered in 1923, is the fourth oldest club in the district.