:Gov. Nathan Deal was a surprise guest at a recent event to honor former Commissioner Mort Ewing. - Photo courtesy of Steve Reagan
COVINGTON -- Former County Commissioner Mort Ewing had a night to remember recently, when colleagues and friends, including Gov. Nathan Deal, honored him for decades of public service.
A five-member citizen's committee organized the private event, which drew a crowd of about 100 and took place Feb. 28 at the Georgia FFA-FCCLA Center.
"It was quite a surprise and a really, really nice evening," said Ewing, who was accompanied by his wife Faye and sons Ben and John.
Deal presented a commendation honoring Ewing for his 12 years of service as a county commissioner -- Ewing retired at the end of 2012 -- and his 41 years of dedication to the Farm Bureau.
The commendation states that Ewing answered the call to public service "with a sincere and humbling devotion to the welfare and betterment of not only the people of Newton County, but also the citizens of Georgia. His commitment to preserving the historic and natural resources of his community is greatly appreciated. With a desire to safeguard the principles of the past while fulfilling the needs of Newton County's future, all while maintaining a balanced budget, he has left an indelible mark upon the people and the county that he has served so well."
State Sen. Rick Jeffares, R-Locust Grove, and State Rep. Doug Holt, R-Social Circle, also presented resolutions from the House and Senate honoring Ewing, and Board of Commissioners Chairman Keith Ellis made him Honorary Chairman for the day of March 1.
Remarks were also made by State Sen. John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa, the chair of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee and Laura Meadows, currently the director at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, whom Ewing hired while he was president of Georgia Farm Bureau. Also speaking were former Commissioner Monty Laster, County Attorney Tommy Craig, Julius Hays, Betsy Morehouse, Ewing's son Ben and Fred Greer.
Greer, Morehouse and Hays were part of the organizing citizen's committee, which also included Troy Bledsoe and Ann Ezell.
"It just seemed like everyone was real excited and enthusiastic to just say thank you," Greer said. "We get caught up in our daily responsibilities and duties and complaints and we just don't stop to say thank you. I've never known a person more committed to his service. He never went into a meeting unprepared, he always did his homework, he always voted his conscience and his heart and what he felt was best for Newton County and the constituents."
Ewing served three terms as county commissioner, during which time he "selflessly and diligently served the people of Newton County as an adroit and respected commissioner," according to Gov. Deal's commendation.
A sixth generation farmer, Ewing served as president of the local chapter of Future Farmers of America while attending Newton County High School, receiving the Georgia Planter degree and the highest FFA honor, the American Farmer degree.
He has served several decades as a director of Newton County Farm Bureau and 17 years as a board member of the Georgia Farm Bureau, six years of which he spent as president.