The Walton Tribune’s Visions 2024 magazine: Honoring Walton’s Best

By Stephen Milligan - the Walton Tribune

The Walton Tribune held its annual Visions awards banquet Monday, April 22, at The Engine Room in Monroe. Proprietor and Publisher Patrick Graham presented awards to (from left) Employer of the Year, Josh Parker and Campton Restaurant; Youth of the Year, Addlyn Perkins of Monroe Area High School; Community Spirit Award winner, Sheriff Joe Chapman and Unsung Heroes Dallas Haupt, Lynn Mills and Sgt. Dustin Peterson. The annual Visions magazine is included inside the Walton Tribune’s April 24, 2024 edition. Cassie Jones | MAK Photography

Walton County’s best and most worthy were honored Monday night at the annual Visions Banquet by The Walton Tribune.

Coinciding with the release of its annual Visions magazine today, the Tribune played host to multiple honorees at an awards ceremony, as guests snacked on heavy hors d’oeuvres while Tribune Publisher Patrick Graham recognized the worthy recipients of awards such as Unsung Hero, Youth of the Year, Employer of the Year and the Community Spirit Award winner.

“The theme for this year’s Visions magazine is The Secret’s Out, a theme that developed after hosting a number of newspaper colleagues from all over the state here locally at different times over the last year,” Graham said. “Every single one of them seemed amazed, and a little envious honestly, at everything we have going on in our growing community.”

And he said that was true of all the night’s award winners.

“The secret is most definitely out about our community, and tonight we are going to share what we consider to be the secret of our community’s success: It’s the people of Walton County, people like this year’s Visions award winners, who make Walton County such a great place to live, work and play.”

Graham began with the Employer of the Year, which was Josh Parker’s Campton Restaurant. Graham said it had become a jewel of an eatery in the area due to Parker’s efforts.

“All that hard work is paying off as customers and employees alike are benefitting from efforts to take already great food and service at the restaurant to the next level,” Graham said.

“I always love the limelight,” Parker said. “For those who haven’t eaten with us yet, I hope you’ll visit us this week.

“I grew up in this restaurant. It’s part of my DNA, part of who I am.”

Next, Graham honored the Youth of the Year, Monroe Area High School’s Addalyn Perkins.

“All of her work is in pursuit of a consistent goal, one she achieves every day but which she works to keep earning with everything she does,” Graham said. “’I just really want to make my family proud,’ our Youth of the Year said, and we are sure she does.”

“I want to thank my high school for giving me the best four years I could have,” Perkins said. “And I want to thank my family, who helped make this possible, and say thank you to God.”

Graham then honored the Tribune’s three Unsung Heroes, starting with Walnut Grove’s Dallas Haupt for his volunteer work in the community.

“Our Unsung Hero works with young and old alike, from mentoring boys and young men without fathers to promoting the health and wellness of seniors,” Graham said.

“I’ve had a hard time with the word hero,” Haupt said. “But I appreciate this so much.”

Haupt then invited his mother on stage.

“Mother’s Day is coming up and yo know how hard it is to get something for your mother,” he said. “So I want to share this with her for Mother’s Day.”

From Social Circle, Lynn Mills was recognized for her efforts in the community with landscaping and design at parks, libraries and more.

“Giving back to the community, volunteering, is something our Unsung Hero was taught early on by her parents,” Graham said. “She is grateful for the ability to put her time, talent and treasure to work for the betterment of the community.”

“My husband was an Unsung Hero back in 2011,” Mills said. “He thanked me then, so I will return the favor. Because this really is a team effort. We just like to support our small town.”

Loganville’s Dustin Peterson, a school resource officer in the city schools, was honored for his work with children at all levels.

“Our Unsung Hero has been making a difference as a School Resource Officer in Loganville for 18 years,” Graham said.

“We don’t get into public safety for accolades or recognition, so we appreciate it when we get them,” Peterson said. “I was fortunate to stumble onto my path. It’s been completely life-changing to be a role model for that group.”

Finally, Graham praised this year’s Community Spirit Award winner, Sheriff Joe Chapman.

“Our Community Spirit Award winner has been serving and protecting the people of Walton County for a combined 40 years now,” Graham said. “Along the way our award winner has helped put countless criminals, true predators, behind bars. He’s also helped keep who knows how many kids out of court for making mistakes that warranted tough love instead.”

“This is a great honor,” Chapman said. “I love Walton County and I’m grateful to the people I work for in Walton County.”

Read more about all of this year’s winners, along with stories on the community in all areas of local life, in the Tribune’s Visions magazine, in today’s newspaper.

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