Ten local “unsung heroes”, Mike Burnes, Annette Morris, Lenora Santoro, Charles Smith, Scott Smith, Jay Shell, Stephanie McElhone, Elm Street Enterprises and Board of Governors’ honorees, Libby and Ira Levy, have been selected as the recipients of the 2018 Heart of the Community Awards of Honor.

These ten honorees will be recognized on Feb. 17, 2018 at the 32nd annual “Affair of the Heart” at the Forum River Center. These awards are sponsored each year by Redmond Regional Medical Center and produced by the Heart of the Community Foundation Board of Governors.

Tickets are available www.theheartofthecommunity.com or by calling Wanda J. Whitten 706-802-3924.

Libby and Ira Levy, Board of Governors Honorees

Together the Levys have participated in:

- Rome Symphony Orchestra

- Ira as past president

- Libby with “Symphony Supper” series

- Hosted “President’s Luncheons” for RSO debutantes

- Honored by the Georgia Trust For Historic Preservation

- Fairview E.S. Brown School project

- Darlington School’s “Rome Parents Program” for boarding students

- Renovation of residential and commercial buildings, Between-The-Rivers Historic District

- Georgia Cities Foundation Renaissance Award for Forrest Hotel renovation

- Rome Shakespeare Festival

- Hosted members of the Moscow Children’s Theater during their stay in Rome

- Hosted delegates from Ueki-town, Japan during Rome’s City-to-City Exchange 

Ira’s additional activities:

- Leadership Rome

- Past president Rodeph Shalom Congregation

- Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce

- Past member of Exchange and Rotary Clubs

- Former board member Desoto Theater Foundation

- Sports teams sponsor

- Spaghetti Suppers for Angel Express

- Past Chairman of Georgia Trust For Historic Preservation

- Emeritus board member of Georgia Trust For Historic Preservation

Libby’s additional activities:

- Past president Camellia Garden Club

- Friendship Force’s Georgia to Georgia Exchange in 1990

- Independently collected & took relief to Georgia for many years

- Designed the logos for Rome Federation of Garden Clubs & Symphony Debutantes

- Former board member Rome History Museum

- New Romans

- Volunteered time, art, food and design work for many Rome organizations’ fundraisers

Ira and Libby have three children, Sam, Ben and Liz. They were nominated by Shane Walley, who says “From a very young age, I have seen firsthand the love, generosity and devotion Ira and Libby have displayed towards Rome and its citizens. I am extremely proud they are being honored by the Heart of the Community. I can’t think of a more deserving couple.”

Mike Burnes

Mike graduated from Rome High School in 1969 and the U.S. Naval Academy in 1973. He served seven years in active Navy and 23 years in Navy Reserve. He retired as a Navy Captain in 2003.

His community Involvement:

- Rome Tennis Club/Coosa Valley Tennis Association where he has served as Treasurer, President Elect, President and Board member

- Co- Coordinator of volunteers for the Atlantic Coast Conference Tennis Championship

- Steering committee –Rome Tennis Center

- Volunteer recruiter for Naval Academy as a Blue & Gold Officer

- Served under U.S. Senator, Saxby Chambliss, Congressman Phil Gingrey and Congressman Tom Graves on Military Academy selection Boards, Chairman of Congressman Graves’ Board

- Board member of Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Past Chairman of Board

- Board member of Rome Floyd Parks and Recreation

- 2017 SPLOST Committee

Mike and his wife, Cynthia have four married children and 6 grandchildren. Mike was nominated by Bill Thornton who says “There is never a job too big or too small for Mike. He is always ready to serve behind the scenes in any capacity for as long as needed or as the person in charge.”

Annette Morris

A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Annette has been a long time resident of Floyd County. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of South Carolina a Master’s degree from Georgia State University an recently received an Ed. S. Degree from the University of Alabama. She currently is a retired Guidance Counselor from the Floyd County school system.

Her community involvement:

- Founder of FAD (Floyd Against Drugs)

- Board Member of Rome Symphony Orchestra

- Past President Garden Study Group Garden Club

- Committees at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

- Board Member of the Episcopal Foundation for the Diocese of Atlanta

- Volunteer with Teen Maze

- Previous volunteer with Sexual Assault Center

- Former member of the Episcopal Charities Foundation Committee

Annette has two grown children, Scott and Vann Morris. The nominators for Annette all agree, “She has a heart filled with compassion, love, generosity, courage and loyalty to others.”

Charles Smith

A 1980 graduate of East Rome where he played on East Rome’s back-to-back championship teams in 1977-1978, Charles received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Service from the University of Georgia and a Master’s degree in Early /childhood Education from Ashford University.

Charles has been involved with the following community activities:

- Head Football Coach – Rome Middle School

-Distinguished Gentlemen Group at Anna K. David Elementary School

- Positive Parenting Program

- Founded Building Positive Families Program

- Booster Club President and PTO President, Rome High School

- Volunteer with Juvenile Court System

- Past Vice-Chair, Rome Floyd Parks and Recreation Authority

- Meld for Dads Fatherhood program

He and his wife, Regina, have six children: Kiara, Toryan, Hameed, Jamahal, Armir, and OJ. Charles was nominated by Elaina Beaman she says “Charles Smith continues to give back to this community by giving his heart, devoted time and loyal support to programs that inspire and motivate youth.”

Jay Shell, Young Heart

Jay Shell is not a lifetime Roman but you’d think he was by seeing the compassion he has for this community. Moving to Rome 19 years ago he has been involved in the following:

- Downtown Development Authority as Promotion Chairman and Business Improvement Board

- Floyd County Board of Education

- Community Coach for Rome Floyd Parks and Recreation

- Leadership Rome

- Owning a business on Broad Street, Jay has often helped people on the street with food, warm clothing or job opportunities

- Has hired bands to assist fund raisers such as: Exchange Club Family Resource Center, Cancer Navigators and The Heart of the Community

- Rome River Jam Concerts

Jay has been married to Melissa for 19 years. They have two children, Madalyn and Jaxson. Nominators for Jay say “Jay is the kind of person who not only makes you proud of how far Rome has come, but proud to be a Roman.”

Lenora Santoro

A native of Waterbury, Connecticut, Lenora received a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Connecticut State University and a MSW degree from Northwestern University. She and her husband, Dr. Jim Santoro, moved to Rome when he started his medical practice.

Her community service has included the following:

- American Cancer Society

- Chieftains Museum

- Floyd Healthcare Foundation

- Junior Service League member and sustainer

- William Davies Homeless shelter Board

- St. Mary’s Church Parish Council

-Darlington School, Room and Dorm Parent and other volunteer activities

She and her husband have one son and daughter-in-law. Lenora was nominated by Elizabeth Tierney, who says “Lenora will tell you she does not deserve this award; that she volunteers because she loves helping people and her community.”

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is a native of Bremen. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business from the University of Georgia and his JD Degree at Mercer Law School. He is an associate of McRae, Smith and Peek Attorneys in Rome.

His involvement in the community began 25 years ago when he moved to Rome to begin his law practice.

His community activities has included:

-Boys and Girls Club

- Mercy Senior Care

- Tri for Kids Fundraiser

- First Baptist church

- Development Authority Rome Chamber of Commerce

-Rome Chamber of Commerce Board

- Charter member of Seven Hills Rotary Club

- Floyd Healthcare Foundation

- United Way of Rome Executive Committee

- Board of Coosa Country Club

- Board member of the Community Foundation

Scott is married to Beth and they have 3 daughters, Bailey, Avery and Anne Scott.

Bob and Susan Hortman said of Scott, “Scott’s unwavering dedication has given fundamental guidance to members as well as steady leadership to the organizations that he serves.”

J. R. Davis of the Boys and Girls Club said “We are so appreciative to have a board member like Scott Smith. He is a true example of a board member giving his time, talent, and treasure to support our organization.”

Stephanie McElhone

Stephanie grew up in Alexandria, Virginia. She received her undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech and her M.B. A. degree from the University of Alabama.

Her community involvement includes:

- St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Finance Committee, Vision & Mission Committee, Endowment Committee

- St. Mary’s Catholic School, Auction Gala co-chair, Endowment Committee, School Advisory Board, Capital Campaign team member, Middle School cross country coach

- YMCA, Outreach Feeding Program, advocate, endowment committee, volunteer for community events

- Three Rivers Swim Club, board member

- Floyd County Commission on Children and Youth, board member

- Rome High School, school board member, co-chair Run with the Wolves 5k fundraiser

- Restoration Rome, Community engagement volunteer

- Rome Symphony Debutante Ball, volunteer

- Rome Area History Museum, volunteer

- Georgia Women of Achievement, volunteer

- Paradise Garden in Summerville, volunteer

- Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind, volunteer

Stephanie is married to Dr. P.J. McElhone, an anesthesiologist at Redmond Regional Medical Center. They have two children, Brennan and Peyton. Nominators of Stephanie say, “Stephanie has improved the lives of countless young people in the community. She has fully dedicated herself to every volunteer position she has ever had. She does what is expected and then she does way more.”

Elm Kids’ Enterprises at Elm Street Elementary School

Business Award

Elm Street Enterprises, a STEAM curriculum designed for learning through entrepreneurship, giving back, and developing a world vision, including enterprises such as:

- Sugar Kids Beauty

- Elm Kids Construction - “Tiny House - Big Dreams”

- Elm SCENTsational Slime

- Maker Market on Elm Street

- PAWSitive Kids

- Creative Technology Design

- Caring & Giving

Elm Street Elementary School is a Georgia STEM certified school and one of five in Georgia selected as a “2017 Family Friendly School.” At Elm Street, students are learning through a business and engineering design model as early as kindergarten. Along with enterprises and entrepreneurships, the school works toward social awareness and giving back to the community. Using funds raised through its many businesses, the school has supported the Rome community and beyond. Examples include:

- Six months supply of food for the Rome Community Kitchen

- Corporate sponsor for the Floyd NICU unit

- Refurbishing of the Ronald McDonald House

- Providing a student-built “Tiny House” for a homeless veteran; second house under construction

- Fundraising for the Salvation Army through a Fun Run and donations

- Family crochet event to make mats for the homeless from 50,000 recycled plastic bags

- Donated over 80,000 bottles of water to Hurricane Harvey victims, partnering with The Museum of Flight

- Animal shelter support and projects

- CARE packages to overseas troops

- Provided a family in need with transportation to Atlanta Hospital