Superior Court Judge Samuel D. Ozburn was at a loss for words as he was presented with the prestigious 2013 R.O. Arnold Award at the Newton-Covington Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting on Thursday.
The judge, who was initially appointed to the bench on Dec. 20, 1995, by Governor Zell Miller, and has since been re-elected without opposition, has practiced law in Covington since 1976.
During the annual meeting, previous award winner Louise Adams spoke of Ozburn's accomplishments over the years and explained to those gathered exactly why he was so deserving of the award. She told the audience of his many accolades in the form of a story narrative.
"This young man had a regular childhood. Played and enjoyed life as most children did and grew up attending elementary school and high school in Covington," Adams said as she read the story of Ozburn's life.
He was born on Oct. 9, 1951, and is a lifelong resident of Newton County. Ozburn is a member of Eastridge Community Church, where he is chairman of the Board of Elders and a Bible study teacher. He graduated from Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in 1976, and while there, he was the administrative editor of Mercer Law Review. Before attending Mercer, he was a graduate of Newton County High School, Oxford College of Emory University and the University of Georgia.
Ozburn is currently the chairman of the Court Security Committee for the Council of Superior Court Judges, a member of the Court Emergency Management Committee created by the Judicial Council of Georgia, and served as the Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia by special designation in May 2005.
When it comes to community service, he has more than 30 years of experience in lending a helping hand through volunteering in Newton County and throughout the state.
He has been the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Salvation Army of Newton County since 1981, and had a hand in establishing the Salvation Army Service Center and Thrift Store, which opened in 1996.He has served as president for the Alcovy Circuit Bar Association, Kiwanis Club of Covington and the Newton County Mental Health Association, as well as serving as a member of a number of other organizations.
He received the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service in 2011. However, all of his service and dedication to the community led him to accept the R.O. Arnold Award, which recognizes a local resident for their lifetime community involvement and service.
As he approached the stage, Ozburn appeared to be in shock as he was prepared to give a prayer for the evening. However, gracious as ever, he said he was grateful for the honor.
"Thank all of you for this and whoever is responsible for choosing this," Ozburn said. "I still, I don't feel like I deserve this, so many people do. But I am just so honored and I seek to reflect Christ every day when people who appear before me and in going about my daily affairs. I am just so grateful and I thank you all so much.
Judge Ozburn is married to Rhonda Norman Ozburn. They have two adult children, Britt, 24, and David, 27; a daughter-in-law Ashley and 2-year-old granddaughter Sadie.