The Gainesville Jaycees presented their annual Young Man and Young Woman of the Year awards Thursday night at the Chattahoochee Country Club.
The Man and Woman of the Year awards have been given for more than 70 years. This year's winners were Erin Williamson and Nathan Crumley. The annual event is a banquet that honors men and women in the community who have been stewards through their unselfish volunteer efforts and service. According to the Jaycees website, the services for which the men and women are honored must have been performed prior to their 40th birthday.
The event included a presentation of the recipient’s accomplishments, gubernatorial proclamations in their honor and remarks from various special guests. Dinner was also provided at Thursday night’s banquet.
Erin Williamson won the Woman of the Year award, saying how important and humbling it was for her to be honored by the Gainesville community.
“It's a really humbling award to receive, just looking at the list of past recipients and knowing what they've given to our community,” Williamson said. “So it's really special to me, as somebody who's not from here originally, to be welcomed and then encouraged to continue to be involved and give back. So I’m very humbled and shocked, but appreciative.”
Williamson is a senior account manager at Forum Communications where she develops strategic marketing and communications plans for her clients. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Loyola University in New Orleans. She was born and raised in Mobile, Ala. She also serves on the board of several nonprofits, such as the Lake Lanier Olympic Park Foundation, United Way of Hall County and the John Jarrard Burch Foundation.
2022 Young Woman of the Year recipient Joy Griffin provided a detailed account of Williamson’s life and achievements prior to announcing her as the winner.
“I admire her deeply, and to say that I have learned from you [Williamson], and grown from learning more about you, is an understatement,” Griffin said. “Your example has changed my life. I pray to gain more of your attributes simply by being near you.”
Nathan Crumley won the award for Man of the Year. He noted how honored he felt in receiving the prestigious award from his peers.
“It really is an honor, just from knowing the previous winners,” Crumley said. “I just — I do love this community and it's good to be a part of it and to be recognized.”
Crumley is the owner and operator of M&R Equipment Rental and Sales in Gainesville. He bought the business during the 2008 recession at age 25 and manages it with his two brothers.
Previous winner of the Man of the Year award Matt Dubnik spoke to Crumley’s character, sharing a list of the major causes he is involved with.
“While we may talk about him being a silent leader, please listen to the list of causes he's publicly committed his time, talent and treasure to recently,” Dubnik said. “Good News Clinics Board of Directors, Gainesville First United Methodist Church Board of Trustees, including serving as chairman, United Way Young Leader Society, Northeast Georgia Health System Auxiliary, Northeast Georgia Health System Foundation, which I know is a legacy to his grandparents, Georgia Mountain Food Bank, Vision 2030 Public Art Committee, Sacred Roots Farms, Habitat for Humanity, Jarrard Burch Foundation, Lakeview Academy.”
The Jaycee awards were founded in 1945 for the purpose of Gainesville Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) members to positively impact the city by developing leaders through service projects.
Since 1945, the awards have been given to men like John Jacobs, Nathan Deal and Drew Echols. Some prominent women who have received the award include Robyn Lynch, Jessica Butler and Katie Dubnik.