Photo: Bulloch Schools

Davis family memorial award honors community volunteers

Southeast Bulloch High School is accepting nominations for its 2019 Life of Service Award. Nomination forms are available at SEBHS and its four feeder schools: Brooklet, Nevils and Stilson elementary schools and Southeast Bulloch Middle School. The community is encouraged to nominate anyone from the Southeast Bulloch area who deserves recognition for a lifetime of service to schools in the southeast district. Nominations will be accepted through 3 p.m., on Monday, April 1.  
Created in 2011, the Lifetime of Service Award is in memory of the legacy of service displayed by the Russell Davis family. Each fall a recipient’s name is added to a commemorative plaque at the school. SEBHS’s School Council will vote on all qualified 2019 nominees at its April 23 meeting. Nominees can be living or deceased; however, the creators of the award prefer to see dedicated servants acknowledged in life. The school will announce this year’s recipient at a special ceremony, the date of which is to be determined.  
“For many in the Southeast Bulloch community, it is hard to believe it has been nearly a decade since we lost a much loved and cherished family,” said SEBHS Principal Stephen Hoyle. The lives of Russell and Wendy Davis, along with two of their children, were claimed by a late night fire. The tragedy spurred the movement to create this award in their memory and their selfless example of giving. Wendy and Russell Davis were posthumously honored as the award’s first recipients. 
“We want the community to help us identify and honor people in the community who have served the schools in the Southeast Bulloch area selflessly and without personal expectation,” Hoyle added.
The permanent Life of Service Award plaque rests atop a stone base and bears the names of Russell and Wendy Davis, Fred Shaver, John Godbee, and Gene Eden, the award’s past recipients. It is the centerpiece of a walkway and gardens adjacent to Fred Shaver Field within the SEBHS athletic complex. Commemorative bricks dedicated to alumni and community members form the walkway.  
Fred Shaver is a football coaching legend in the community, who led the Yellow Jackets to back-to-back state championships in 1972 and 1973, and was later a district administrator, who continued to advocate for schools in the southeast district. He continues to serve on the SEBHS School Council and coordinates the school’s Hall of Fame program.
John Godbee was SEBH’s second principal and lifelong champion for the school. He created the school’s first football and band programs and coordinated the construction of SEBH’s first football stadium. He went on to serve as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives where his efforts continued to benefit Bulloch County. 
Gene Eden served SEBHS for more than three decades including 25 years as a guidance counselor.  He played a major role in the construction of the new high school campus, while also preserving the former building’s landmark gymnasium and field house, now named for George Roebuck. Eden continues to tirelessly serve as a volunteer coach and sports announcer.
Information from Bulloch County Schools. 
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