Top 40 Under 40 professionals honored at reception

By Larry Stanford

January 31, 2014

Twenty-six of the Top 40 Under 40 nominees presented by The Thomaston Times in a 10-week feature last fall came together Thursday night at Park Lane to receive their certificates and hear about the need for their leadership in the near future.

The Top 40 Under 40 feature focused on young professionals under the age of 40 who have decided to make Thomaston their home and who are working to help improve the area. Nominations were sought from the community, and a broad mix of professionals from business, education, health and public safety, and others were nominated.

The Thomaston Times General Manager Laurie Lewis and Content Manager Larry Stanford presented certificates to each of the nominees. Lewis said the concept of the Top 40 Under 40 acknowledges that the greatest assets of this community are its people.

“It is my hope that by recognizing and bringing this group of people together they will see they have much in common,” Lewis said. “They want the same things for their families and their community. The quality of life in Thomaston and Upson County is in their hands.”

Laurie Holmes of Colony Bank, one of the nominated Top 40 Under 40, urged her fellow nominees to take their vision of what they want their community to be and make it happen.

“We each have our vision of what we want or think Thomaston and Upson County should, or should not be,” Holmes said. “What is stopping you from making that vision happen? Some may be quick to say ‘the city and county’ won’t do that, they would never let us do that. Well, have we asked them? Have we approached our elected officials and told them our ideas, our dreams, our hopes for this community? We were all asked when we were chosen what we thought Upson County’s biggest needs are. Most, if not all of us, responded that our younger generation needed to be more involved.

“Our town has some road blocks. Yes, Thomaston and Martha Mills have closed. We all know they closed many years ago, so why are we still talking about it?” Holmes asked. “For those of you who weren’t here when the ‘mills were open,” welcome to our Thomaston. This is our Thomaston without the mills open. It is our Thomaston and Upson County to form, to love, to embrace, to change for the better. It is our Thomaston that our children will remember. It is our Thomaston that we have to leave better than the way we found it.

“If each of us in this room started working on the one thing we think should be better about this town, just imagine where we could go. What do you want to work on? Is it recreational sports? Is it education? Is it quality of life? Is it roadways? Whatever it is, it is time for us to get to work.”

Holmes ended her comments by suggesting that she and her fellow nominees form their own organization to lend a more powerful voice to their thoughts and ideas.