ALBANY, Ga. -- With friends like this, who needs enemies?
But it was all in good fun for a good cause Friday evening at Albany Technical College's Kirkland Convention Center as Dr. Charles Gillespie was "roasted" by friends and colleagues in a fund-raising event for the Albany Technical College Foundation.
A longtime friend and supporter of ATC, Gillespie taught the first Emergency Medical Technician course in Southwest Georgia at the school in 1972.
When the college's First Responders' building was opened in Nov. of 2008, it was named after Gillispie - The Charles B. Gillespie, M.D. Center for Emergency Responders.
The building is not only the training facility for the college's EMT program, but also the Fire Science and and Law Enforcement Technology programs as well.
Roasters included Albany Tech President Anthony Parker; Charles Proctor, First Responders director at ATC; former practice partner Dr. Duncan Marsh; Elain Ellington, EMP-P and first female EMT student at Albany Tech; John Culbreath, Phoebe Putney Hospital board member; and Dr. George Chastain.
Proctor called Gillespie "the Godfather of EMS in Georgia" and Dr. Marsh later added that "Charlie (a widely known amateur photographer) is the only man I know that can give us 12 different views of a fence post."
Doug Lorber served as the event's master of ceremonies.
At the end of the evening, Gillespie was honored with the U.S. Marine Corps and Department of the Navy's 2009 Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award.
A statement issued by Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Russell W. Beland read: "Your selfless service and contributions to improving the lives of Sailors, Marines and their families" are extraordinary.
"Your dedication to TriCare, co-founding the Department of Defense National Military Assistance Safety Traffic helicopter program, Georgia Military Affairs Coordinating Committee, and development of a multi-county Emergency Medical Services disaster assistance program all warrant the most sincere appreciation of their own.
"In addition to the many areas you serve, the duration for which you have been involved is admirable. We are proud and grateful that you represent the Department of the Navy on so many fronts."