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BECK: Visions winners are inspiration
Community Spirit
Posters of The Covington News' 2020 and 2021 Visions magazine covers featuring Shannon Buff and Sheriff Ezell Brown set inside The Reserve at Hendricks on Thursday for the News' annual reception for honorees. - photo by Mason Wittner

Considering all our community — our nation, even — has endured over the last 365 days and counting, I’d say Thursday night was quite special.

It was the night The Covington News was able to host its 2021 Visions reception, but with a twist. Instead of only honoring 2021 award winners, we chose to invite winners from the previous year to celebrate them as well.

Unfortunately due to the uncertainty that surrounded COVID-19 and the strict social distancing requirements at the time, it was impossible to host our annual event last year.

But now that we’ve turned the corner and are looking toward the other side of this pandemic, I was absolutely thrilled Thursday night to finally be able to recognize a few of our area’s outstanding employers, showcase our bright and talent-rich youth, shed light on our area’s Unsung Heroes, and honor two wonderful people who exemplify the definition of community spirit through charitable works and a lifetime of achievement.

Our 2020 Visions winners included:

• Newton High School Principal Dr. Shannon Buff — Community Spirit Award

• Clara Lett, Crystal Little and Michael Whatley — Unsung Heroes

• Ava Jane Teasley — Youth of the Year

• Arbor Equity — Employer of the Year

Our 2021 Visions winners included:

• Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown — Community Spirit Award

• Linda Hays, Phil Johnson and Brad Stewart — Unsung Heroes

• Meredith McCrorey — Youth of the Year

• Piedmont Newton Hospital — Employer of the Year

When I read about these people and speak to them for myself, I’m in awe — such great personalities that represent the best of Newton County. They’ve each made a difference in this special place we call home, and their actions should serve as an inspiration to all of us.

Taylor Beck is editor and publisher of The News. Reach him at