Named after "Mr. Bob" Arnold, who with his wife Florence, established The Arnold Fund, the R.O. Arnold Award is awarded to an individual who has shown significant service to the Newton County community and has lived in the county for at least five years. Past recipients and past chairs of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce nominate and then vote on recipients.
This year, Jerry and Lee Aldridge were awarded for their long-time commitments to bettering this community.
Together the couple served the Newton County School System for a combined total of 69 years. Lee taught science at Newton High School and Jerry served as a history teacher, assistant principal at Newton High, principal of Porterdale and Mansfield elementary schools and maintenance coordinator for the school system.
They not only worked in classrooms and school offices but in extracurricular activities as well. Lee was a sponsor for cheerleading, Y Club, Science Club and Year Book staff. For many years, and Jerry was Newton football's announcer - "the voice of the Rams." Both served the 4-H State of Georgia Volunteer Leader Organization for three decades, finally serving as the organization's co-presidents.
Lee has been a constant invaluable resource to the Service Guild of Covington since she joined in 2000 as well as a dedicated Newton Medical Center Auxiliary Board volunteer. Jerry has led Boy Scout Troop 222 for 25 years and continues to do so. Under his tutelage 28 Scouts have earned Eagle distinction.
Each has helped the other in all the organizations they served.
Jerry and Lee serve on numerous other community boards, are parents to three children and five grandchildren and devoted members of Julia A. Porter United Methodist Church.
We just don't have enough space to list all of their efforts. A crystal vase is an appropriate token for the Arnold Award because vases are meant to be filled such as Jerry and Lee have imbued the hearts of many with their abounding love. We are proud they call Newton County home.