When it comes to serving in the community, Mrs. Ruth Hatchett has been involved in so many organizations than it is hard to narrow it down to just a few. She has made a life out of serving others and in honor of all she has done, she was awarded the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Thomaston-Upson Chamber of Commerce. Mrs. Ruth was presented her award at the 67th Annual Dinner and Awards Banquet held last Thursday evening, and upon acceptance stated she never really considered everything she was involved with to be work, she just had fun.
“What I do is what I love, I don’t do it for any recognition,” she stated. “I feel unworthy of this award. When we moved to Thomaston, I embraced the community and it embraced me. I thank God that He has allowed me to serve in the community in which I live.”
Close friend Vicki Huckaby spoke about “Mrs. Ruth” during the program and described her to be a woman of integrity, wisdom and good humor. She noted she has been blessed with the gift of service, but that her unique talent is being a connector and bringing people together so that a greater good is done and a greater effort can be accomplished.
Mrs. Ruth was born to Mr. and Mrs. Ank N. Bailey on September 25, 1941 in Hackleburg, Alabama and was the third of five sisters. She and her family moved to Hartwell, Georgia in 1946 where she lived until she graduated from Hart County High School in 1959, earning a scholarship to Tift College. She attended for one year before marrying Gordon Williams of Forsyth in July 1961. After living in Forsyth for seven years and working at The William Carter Company, the couple moved to Thomaston where Gordon began working at the Upson County Area Vocational School, where he was in charge of Food Services. Mrs. Ruth was able to fulfill her childhood dream of working in the medical field when she began working for Dr. Douglas Head, who she says was a very patient man for the “green horn” in the office.
When they moved to Upson County, Mrs. Ruth began serving her community and became a member of the Thomaston Professional Women’s Club, a club of women throughout the United States working to make their cities a better place to live. She served as the recording secretary of the club. She later moved on from the doctor’s office to take a position as a secretary at the vocational school. After Gordon passed away, Mrs. Ruth enrolled and graduated from Tift College in 1981, where she then went on to teach at Upson Tech. She later earned a Masters in Administration from Georgia State University, where she graduated with honors in 1986.
That same year she met and married Kenneth Hatchett and they have been together ever since. Mrs. Ruth credited him with being a jewel in her life and someone who supports her in every way that he can. They have one daughter, Ann Hoard, and two grandchildren, Timothy Moreland and Shannon Hoard.
During her teaching years, Mrs. Ruth has been involved with many clubs, charities and served on several boards and committees. To name just a few, she has been a part of the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, Battered Women’s Council and the local Gamma Zeta Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa. She retired in 2002, but she has not slowed down one bit. She spends her time serving her community and her church in any way that she can.
Mrs. Ruth has been a member of East Thomaston Baptist since 1968 and she currently serves as the WMU Director, Sunday School teacher and is on several committees in the church and on the associational level. Along with her husband Kenneth, she has traveled throughout the southeast over the last eight summers on several mission trips with local mission teams from the Centennial Baptist Association.
In addition to serving at her church, Mrs. Ruth was the first female President of the Kiwanis Club for 2006-2007. She is currently President of Upson Regional Medical Center’s Foundation board, is a member of the Thomaston Garden Club where she serves as Chaplain and is a member of the Retired Teachers of Upson County Organization. She is also serving on the following organizational boards: Department of Family & Children’s Services; United Way; Christmas Kitchen; and Southern Crescent’s Business Administration Advisory board. For the last five years, she served as Community Graduation Coach for the Upson-Lee High School and Middle school Graduation coaches. She set up coat drives, speaking engagements, solicited donations or other needs which the coaches needed for the at risk children in both schools.
One organization she is particularly proud to be a part of is the Food for Thought program which she started with three other local ladies. Food For Thought and its volunteers provide nutritious bagged food for at-risk students that might normally go without over the weekends.
Over the years, Mrs. Ruth has been recognized several times for her dedication to serving her community by different organizations. She is beginning her ninth year as a member of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, of which she was named Chamber Champ in 2003. In 2007, she was chosen as the Public Servant of the Year award by the Junior Women’s Club and she was named Kiwannian of the Year for 2010-2011.
There is no doubt that Mrs. Ruth embodies what it means to be a true servant of the community. After accepting her award Thursday evening she shared with the crowd what she considers words to live by.
“We are placed on this Earth to make it a better place to live. If we have not done this at the end of our life, then we have failed with our purpose.”
Many would agree that Mrs. Ruth has definitely lived up to her motto and she shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.