Forsyth County’s highest honor for civic and community leadership is the Charles Welch Award, distributed by the Forsyth Chamber of Commerce at the annual Chamber Celebration event. It is not awarded annually but is presented purely on merit when a community leader is identified who best exemplifies the same qualities that the late Charles F. Welch did. These qualities include service to the community without regard for power or recognition, a commitment to what is best for the community as a whole and a growing enthusiasm to continually make the community a better place to live.
The Charles Welch Award was created in 1997 to honor Mr. Welch’s legacy. A long-time resident of Forsyth County, Charles F. Welch was a most dedicated citizen to his community. Not only did he own his own insurance agency, but he was once elected to the Cumming City Council and later to the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners. Charles was to be installed as Chamber’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. However, in the Fall of 1997, he lost a battle with colon cancer and was unable to serve.
Charles was not only known for his leadership positions but also his sense of commitment and dedication to the community as well. His love for his home was truly exemplified to everyone that knew him. Many of his long time friends would say Charles had no enemies and they were correct. He was known to “check his ego at the door,” and believed in putting others before himself. As Charles was never able to serve as Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors, his legacy is instead recognized with this award.
At the 2020 Chamber Annual Celebration the Chamber’s Executive Vice President, Jimmy Lane, presented the Charles Welch Award to Forsyth County’s Emergency Management Director, Chris Grimes. Chris’ service to our community not only exemplifies all of the qualities associated with the Charles Welch Award but it is also intensely needed and rarely recognized. Chris spent countless hours ensuring that Forsyth County’s medical providers were well-prepared and well-stocked to serve the needs of those battling COVID-19. To view a video of this surprise presentation click HERE.