Originally created 11/17/99

Augustan honored for deed



Some of Augusta's most philanthropic residents were recognized Tuesday at a ceremony dedicated to the late George Weiss, who donated his entire estate to charity.

The annual National Philanthropy Day awards, presented by the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, was in tribute to the former WBBQ-FM owner who left nearly $20 million to Medical College of Georgia shortly before his death in 1997.

"He made his (money) here and he wanted to keep it here," said James Osborne, MCG vice president for university advancement.

Augusta resident Shell Hardman Knox received this year's outstanding philanthropist award for helping coordinate the donation of 178 acres of Hardman family farmland near Helen, Ga., to the state in the spring.

The land and historic farmhouse will become a state-run educational site where visitors can experience the workings of a late 19th-century farm.

"We all have something to give," Ms. Knox said after the awards luncheon.

Charles Bellmann, who came out of retirement this year to accept a position as interim president of United Way of the Central Savannah River Area, was named outstanding fund-raising professional. The former Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce president headed the local United Way from 1962 to 1974.

"If you stand around long enough in the same spot, it will all come back to you," he said jokingly.

SunTrust Bank Vice President Cheryl Cheek was named the year's outstanding fund-raising volunteer for her local work with the state's Leave a Legacy program. Ms. Cheek serves on the boards of several charitable organizations and is past president of the local chapter of the American Heart Association.

Wal-Mart was named outstanding corporation for its continued support of the Children's Miracle Network, Richmond and Columbia county schools and several other nonprofit community organizations.

David Zacks, a former Augusta attorney and treasurer of the national American Cancer Society, was the event's keynote speaker.

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486.