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Fifth-grader honored for citizenship

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- With two generations of family there to cheer him on, a fifth-grader from Sherwood Acres Elementary Magnet School accepted a Young Citizenship Award on Thursday.

Hunter Peacock received a thesaurus, a plaque and a check for $50 from the Exchange Club of Albany, which works to fight child abuse in the area, but also encourages youth to contribute to the community.

The nominating letter to the club stated: "Hunter Peacock is an excellent candidate for your award. He is an all around great kid who exemplifies all of the qualities that are criteria for this honor. Hunter deserves credit for his excellent record of citizenship, positive attitude, academics, service leadership and sportsmanship."

With three grandparents; his father, Jon Peacock; stepmother, Mary Ellen Peacock, and mother, Kimberly Badillo, in attendance, Barry Davis credited strong family ties for Hunter's success as he presented the boy the award.

"The recipient's family is here and without them he would not be here," Davis said. "It shows what kind of family he has behind him."

Hunter said he has learned much from organizations of which he is a member, such as Boy Scouts, his school and his church. But his parents taught him to place his rudder in the right direction, he said.

"My parents taught me the importance of community service," Hunter said. "My teachers also made me know that helping people can make a big difference. Being a good citizen helps build the community."

The award was given on a Thursday rather than at a usual Friday club meeting day. Instead, today the Exchangites will host their annual Deputy Dawg Golf Classic with a tee off at 1 p.m. at Grand Island Golf Club off Ledo Road.

The 15th annual Deputy Dawg Classic could bring in $10,000, as it has in past years, to help fight child abuse. The Exchangites give the money they raise to local groups, such as Open Arms, which is a child abuse prevention and intervention group.

The tournament is named for Dougherty County Sheriff's Department Capt. Frank Sumner, who died from a heart attack in 1995 at age 68. Sumner, who mounted an anti-drug campaign for youth starting in 1971, adopted the nickname "Deputy Dawg" from the popular 1960s cartoon in 1973 when a fifth-grader told him "Deputy Sheriff Frank Rodney Sumner" was too long to remember.

Sumner, with a portly, grandfatherly look and demeanor, reached thousands of children as he went to Southwest Georgia schools and spoke to students about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and crime. For two decades, he was the Sheriff's Department's one-man youth division.