"He is a man of distinction. He is a statesman."
Former Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas said this of Jeffrey N. Osteen, Kirk Healing Center’s 2016 Humanitarian of the Year.
"There are not many people that are statesman. You normally refer to statesman as politicians but that’s not the true definition," Thomas said. "A statesman is a person who works for the good of all humanity and that’s what Jeff has done."
Osteen, who is an attorney at Jones Osteen and Jones, and was re-elected as state court solicitor-general Nov. 8, is corporate secretary for Gabriel House and serves on the board at Kirk Healing Center.
He accepted the award in front of family, friends and colleagues Nov. 17 at the Liberty County Community Complex in Midway.
Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown called Osteen a "fine upstanding citizen."
"Everybody I talked to used almost those exact words about him — almost boring," Brown said laughing. "As mayor, I’ve always been grateful for people like Jeff because they make our community better."
Brown then read a proclamation honoring Osteen for being named
Kirk’s humanitarian of the year.
Thomas, also a founding member of Kirk Healing Center, praised Osteen for providing legal advice and guidance to the center.
"A great part of what Kirk Healing Center has done was because of Jeff. He gave us the legal guidance we needed to keep this organization going," Thomas said. "He came in and helped us at a time when we couldn’t help ourselves. To get a lawyer with his capabilities and his experience, over 12 years, I can’t calculate how much it would have cost us. But he gave his time freely, his talent freely. His commitment to humanity is a critical thing we need in our society today."
Mark Hendrix, an attorney and longtime friend of Osteen, talked of his friend’s ability to excel in every area of his life—career, community and family.
Hendrix said being elected to a position at any level is an honor and shows how Osteen set himself above the bar to win the seat of solicitor-general "hands down."
He described Osteen as being a friend to everyone in the room, a good family man and how whenever he called Osteen for advice, Osteen would stop and give his undivided attention.
Hendrix then shared what people in the community said about Osteen to "encapsulate what Liberty County thinks of Jeff" such as, "When I think of Jeff Osteen, I think of a level headed, even-keeled lawyer. He is a professional and services his clients and county well. And above all else, he loves the law. Great sense of humor."
"Jeffrey is a very kind and gentle man. He loves Liberty County and its citizens. He shows it with all his community involvement activities that he is involved in. He wants to make our community bigger and a better place to live in."
Rep. Ron Stephens, R-164, presented Osteen with the award. Stephens talked about first meeting Osteen through his work with the Gabriel House.
Osteen said he was thankful for the award and said his involvement in the community is not based on receiving accolades.
"I do it because there is a need, there is a need for the homeless, there is a need for serving our veterans, there is a need for serving and assisting kids who are in foster care," Osteen said. "I challenge each and every one of us to be humanitarians. The way we can be humanitarians is to assist other people in need."
During his time at Bacon Primary School, which later became Jordye Bacon Elementary, Osteen recalled seeing bible verses on the wall. There was one in particular that Osteen said he tries to live by, "Do to others what you would have them do to you."
"I try to treat people the same way that I myself would like to be treated, whether it’s in court or whether it’s anything with organizations," Osteen said.
Osteen was not the only person honored that night. Ray Perez was presented with the Phoenix Award, which represents turning his life around and "living a life of excellence," Judy Shippey said who presented the award.
Perez is on staff with the Healing Center and is on the board of trustees at First United Methodist Church in Hinesville. Shippey said that whenever someone needs help they call Perez, whose nickname is "Mr. Excellence."
"He is a true example of God’s saving grace and mercy," Shippey said.
Perez thanked everyone for the award.
Earlier in the evening attendees listened to Juanita Knox sing "How Great Thou Art" and watched a dance performance by Michayla Knox and Dominique Rogers.
Dinner was catered by Sho’Nuff Smoking Good BBQ.