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Published on January 30th, 2013 |


Jeff Foxworthy helps Buckhead Coalition celebrate its 25th anniversary with a hoot at annual luncheon

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    The Buckhead Coalition’s annual luncheon meeting was more of a celebration this year of the organization’s 25 years of service to the north Atlanta community than a typical business meeting.

    Comedian Jeff Foxworthy spins his homespun humor at
    25th Anniversary luncheon of Buckhead Coalition. 
    The annual event was punctuated by roaring laughter incited by the homespun stories of famed Atlanta comedian Jeff Foxworthy,  who this year replaced the usual business-focused keynote speaker.

    Foxworthy said he would never have thought of being the speaker at a Buckhead Coalition luncheon growing up in Hapeville. “We had to have a pass just to get north of I-20,” he told the group.

    Referring to some of the accomplishments of the Coalition of the past 25 years, Foxworthy noted that the organization in 2004 raised $30,000 from members to refurbish Atlanta History Center’s Tullie Smith Farm building.

    In contrast, Foxworthy said his hometown of Hapeville, that very same year, raised $300 to replace the three flat tires on its city hall. Of course, that was just one of the jokes he made contrasting Buckhead to where he grew up in the metro Atlanta area.

    Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed :
    “warm-up act for Foxworthy”
    But Foxworthy concluded with a serious note. “I love this city,” he said, pointing out he was in the company of others who love the city. “You have a responsibility to your community that has been delegated to all of us in this room.”

    Foxworthy was introduced to the hundreds attending the luncheon at 103 West event facility by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who told the group he was “the warm-up act for Jeff Foxworthy.”     

    The one piece of serious business was the election of David P. Fitzgerald, president and chief executive officer of the Fitzgerald & Company advertising firm, to a two-year term as chairman of the Coalition.  He becomes the 12th person to head the group of area business leaders.

    Buckhead  Coalition President Sam Massell  poses
    with executive committee member Linda Klein  in
    front of 25th Anniversary display at luncheon.
    For a gallery of photos from the 25th anniversary
    luncheon, click here
    Sam Massell, the founding president of the Coalition, was elected for another two years in that position, as were Juanita P. Baranco and Jeffrey C. Sprecher as vice presidents, M. Maxine Hicks as secretary and Charles B. Crawford, Jr. as treasurer.

    Selected for three-year positions as members of the executive committee, were M. Brantley Barrow, Steven L. Guy, Daniel S. Parmer, Michael M. Rogers and S. Scott Selig. 

    Massell pointed out that  “Dave (Fitzgerald), a Buckhead resident, has been a director and active member of the Coalition for 21 years, providing pro bono assistance time and time again”. 

    In accepting the assignment, Fitzgerald said, “For one to be impressed with the Coalition’s history you need only glance through its newly-published 25-year retrospective booklet, a compilation of 180 sample initiatives from over the years.”  

    Foxworthy was not the only comic on the program for the 25th anniversary celebration luncheon.

    New Buckhead Coalition Chairman
    Dave Fitzgerald quips about declaring
    the sovereign state of Buckhead with
    Sam Massell as governor.   
    Fitzgerald told the audience that the Coalition was announcing that, after all the activity creating Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Brookhaven, “Buckhead declares itself a sovereign state” and said Sam Massell will be the governor of the state of Buckhead.

    Fitzgerald said the Brookwood Station would be turned into a welcome station to the new state and a billboard would be erected with Massell face welcoming folk to the new state. He ssaid Massell, one of only three Democrats at the Buckhead Coalition, demanded a large D be placed behind his head in the photo.

    Continuing the joke, Fitzgerald said the state bird for Buckhead would be the construction crane.

    Outgoing chairman of the Coalition John (Sonny) Morris, partner of Morris, Manning & Martin LLC law firm, also got to joke a bit, poking fun at Massell, who he said complains in every story written about him that he has presided over the Coalition as president for 25 years and never had an employment contract.

    Outgoing Coalition chairman Sonny Morris reads from the
    employment contract prepared for Sam Massell for his first
    25 years of service to the organization.  
    Morris read from an employment contract he had prepared and presented to cover the past 25 years of Massell’s work for the Coalition. In response, Massell said he understood he was also going to get a contract for the next 25 years of service. Morris amended the contract on the spot.

    Morris was presented with a Fräbel buck’s head crystal trophy in appreciation of his service as chairman for the past two years.

    In step with the silver anniversary theme of the luncheon, The Rev. William I. Self, former pastor of the Wieuca Road Baptist Church and now pastor emeritus of the Johns Creek Baptist Church, gave the invocation at the luncheon. Rev. Self had given the invocation at the first of the annual luncheons of the Coalition. 

    (To view a gallery of photos from the Buckhead Coalition’s 25 anniversary luncheon, go here.)                    


    The Buckhead Coalition is an influential nonprofit civic association, much like a chamber of commerce, for the Buckhead quadrant of the city of Atlanta.  Its membership is limited to 100 CEOs of major area firms, by invitation. 

    It is celebrating its 25th year of its mission to “nurture the quality of life and help coordinate an orderly growth” within its 28 square miles with a population of 78,000.  

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