2019-02-06 / Front Page

Annual ChamberAwards

Broxton is Citizen of the Year, Fisheads earns Business of the Year
DIANA ROYAL


Jonathan Broxton, center, was named Citizen of the year. He is pictured with his wife, Elizabeth, and Chamber board member Britt Marchman. Jonathan Broxton, center, was named Citizen of the year. He is pictured with his wife, Elizabeth, and Chamber board member Britt Marchman. He could have moved anywhere when it came time to retire, but the celebrated Major League Baseball pitcher chose home. He came back to Burke County, the place where he first developed a love for what became his livelihood and a place he has given back to generously ever since.

On Thursday night, Jonathan Broxton was the center of attention, a position Chamber board member Britt Marchman admitted knowing Broxton is not a fan of. “For what it’s worth, this individual has stood on a pitcher’s mound and heard the cheers of thousands directed at him as he went about his work, but for those of us who know him, I can assure you this small amount of spotlight from his friends and family and neighbors makes him extremely uncomfort- able,” Marchman chuckled from the podium as he announced that Broxton was the 2019 recipient of the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year award.


Lisa and Doug Dojan, owners of Fisheads Aquaponic Lettuce, received the Business of the Year award. They are pictured with board members Henry Hopkins, Robin Baxley and Anne Marie Kyzer. Lisa and Doug Dojan, owners of Fisheads Aquaponic Lettuce, received the Business of the Year award. They are pictured with board members Henry Hopkins, Robin Baxley and Anne Marie Kyzer. Marchman described Broxton and his wife, Elizabeth, as a couple who throughout his MLB career continued to call Burke County home and immersed their own children in the same community of which they both grew up. “It would have been far more convenient to live someplace else,” he said, “but this was a conscious choice … and Burke County has certainly benefitted from that decision.”

Through the years, Broxton has not only given generously financially to help support his favorite pastime locally, but in retirement, he’s offered his expertise and his time, working tirelessly to enhance the baseball and softball programs at Burke County’s recreation department. He’s coached teams, worked with the grounds crew, helped restructure various rules and incorporate rules all to help children learn and grow into the sport. This coming spring, Broxton will take the reins as Edmund Burke Academy’s head baseball coach, an endeavor he’s excited about because it’s another opportunity to mentor young athletes.


Pictured with speaker Jeff Manley, second from left, are Chamber board members for 2019, from left, Mathew Gaines, Brain Kirkland, Ashley Roberts (executive director), Henry Hopkins, Suzanne Sharkey, Jenna Maddox, Robin Baxley, Lynn Murray, Whitney Dixon, Anne Marie Kyzer, Sarah-Ann Kelly, Dustin Rowell and Britt Marchman. Pictured with speaker Jeff Manley, second from left, are Chamber board members for 2019, from left, Mathew Gaines, Brain Kirkland, Ashley Roberts (executive director), Henry Hopkins, Suzanne Sharkey, Jenna Maddox, Robin Baxley, Lynn Murray, Whitney Dixon, Anne Marie Kyzer, Sarah-Ann Kelly, Dustin Rowell and Britt Marchman. But the Broxtons’ love for their community doesn’t stop with baseball. “They’ve donated quietly and generously to a variety of causes that many know nothing about,” Marchman said. “Whether it be towards educational needs at a local school, toy closets for the less fortunate or to fire victims who have lost everything, he has simply taken care of a need, never asking for anything in return.”

In addition to Citizen of the Year, which was sponsored by Georgia Power, a small company out of Sardis was named Business of the Year.

“This year, we are honored to recognize a business rooted, literally, in Burke County’s rich agricultural tradition but who practices that age-old work in a very twenty-first century way,” board member Henry Hopkins said when introducing the recipient. “While this business is relatively young … and its farming practices might be considered “new age,” its production methods can be traced to ancient times.”

The business – Fisheads Aquaponic Lettuce owned by Doug and Lisa Dojan – has, in fact, been making headlines since its inception, especially in the last year, when it was named the Farm-to-School Farmer of the Year as part of the state’s Golden Radish Awards. Through a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture, Fisheads grows nearly a dozen varieties of organic lettuce in its greenhouse, using water over soil and live fish instead of fertilizer. Not only do they sell the products to schools, grocery stores and restaurants, but the folks at Fisheads “have dedicated their time to teaching children just how their farming methods work and the science behind them, allowing area children to learn about these practices through hands-on participation,” Hopkins said, adding, “A long term goal of these business owners is to one day do mission work … they’d like to teach these farming methods that they have perfected here to the residents of arid regions of the world.”

Also during the meeting, new leadership was presented for 2019.

Anne Marie Kyzer will succeed Robin Baxley as president for the year. Outgoing directors were Adam Flakes and Jason Blackburn. Their successors, Dustin Rowell and Whitney Dixon, were approved. Remaining board members include Baxley, Marchman, Hopkins, Sarah-Ann Kelly, Jenna Maddox, Mathew Gaines, Brian Kirkland, Suzanne Sharkey and Lynn Murray.

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