Guest speaker/comedian Wayne Ates had the crowd roaring with laughter Thursday night at the 2009 Liberty County Sports Hall of Fame banquet at Club Stewart. Gary Guyton, Ronnie Brett, Delano Little, Cedric Dickerson and J. Don Martin were officially inducted during the celebration.
Ates, a comedic motivational speaker from Jesup, warmed the crowd with stories about how sports teach valuable life lessons.
Newly appointed Hall of Fame Chairman Craig Stafford, who took over after Charles Shuman retired, introduced the presenters who in turn relayed brief biographies of each inductee. Next, the athletes were given the floor for their acceptance speeches.
Ava Dean Cox introduced the evening’s first inductee, Gary Guyton. Cox spoke about the hard work and commitment Guyton made to get to the NFL, where he plays for the New England Patriots. She said Guyton wanted to extend, "a special thanks to the coaching staff at Bradwell Institute, especially Jim Walsh Jr., for the assistance they provided and seeing him through high school and football."
Cox said there are still many chapters left in Guyton’s book as his NFL career is just getting started.
Receiving the award on his behalf was Guyton’s father, Gary Guyton Sr., and his mother, Janice Guyton. Guyton was unable to attend because of his commitment to the NFL and today’s game against the Carolina Panthers. Both parents said they were extremely proud of Guyton’s accomplishments.
Liberty County Recreation Department Director Jimmy Martin introduced his father, J. Don Martin as the recipient of this year’s at-large category. Martin, who is in the hospital recovering from injuries he sustained in a car accident recently, was honored for his contributions while serving as president of the Harvey Overton Bradwell Institute Football Club.
Jimmy Martin read an acceptance speech written by his father. The sheriff wrote he was humbled and honored to be considered worthy of the award. Martin said his father had just come out of leg surgery and is on the road to recovery.
WBTV Sports Director Delano Little was introduced by Clifford Johnson. Delano’s parents, Roosevelt and Lucille Little, accepted the award on his behalf. Little’s mother said the four years he spent in Hinesville and at Bradwell were his best.
Bill Boyd introduced his former Tiger teammate and running back, Ronnie Brett.
"He is the Alpha," Boyd said. "He was the first Bradwell player to earn a football scholarship and was the first to earn the Fraser Rambo Sportsmanship Award."
Finally, Cedric Dickerson accepted his award after he was introduced by friend Sam Giles. Dickerson said he was grateful and also thanked Liberty County basketball coach Willie Graham, who was in attendance, for always pushing him forward.
Giles said Dickerson taught him to "never give in and never give up."