By Joel Hall
Among 63 of the county's most notable good Samaritans, Ben Loggins, a certified public accountant from the Lake Spivey area, has been lifted up and recognized by his peers.
This month, the Clayton County Rotary Club selected Loggins, owner of Loggins & Associates CPA in Jonesboro, as its Rotarian of the Year.
While the Clayton County Rotary Club is nearly 50 years old, the Rotarian of the Year award started in the 1970s as a way to recognize those from the club who excel in service locally, and nationally. Every year, members of the local Rotary Club select someone from their membership who most embodies 'service above self,' the Rotary Club motto.
"The criteria of the Rotarian of the Year is the one person who has exemplified that motto and gone above everyone else," said Tom Mertl, immediate past president of the Clayton County Rotary Club. "Ben did that this year."
Mertl describes Loggins, who will end a three-year run as the club's treasurer, as the club's moral compass.
"You can always count on Ben for the absolute practical side of everything," said Mertl. He said Loggins often raises questions to make sure that the Rotary Club's actions are mutually beneficial to all parties involved.
Loggins said it is a "great honor" to be recognized above other Rotarians, but added, "I just try to do what I can to support the club and it's community activities."
Support is not just a word when it comes to Loggins, who was born in East Point, but has lived in Jonesboro with his wife, Theresa, and daughter, Emily, since 1984.
He has been a member of the Clayton County Rotary Club for 27 years. During 21 of those years, he had a perfect meeting attendance record. Loggins served as the director of the fund-raising arm of Southern Regional Medical Center for 17 years. For the past two years, he has served on the finance committee for the United States Figure Skating Association, which governs the sport nationally and selects participants to represent the United States in Olympic events.
Locally, Loggins was instrumental in having posters of the "Four-Way Test," the moral measuring tool which Rotarians use to guide their actions, placed in prominent places in all Clayton County public schools. The posters read: "Of the things we think, say, or do: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? Will it be beneficial for all concerned?"
Two months ago, Loggins took time away from his business, which is one of the largest CPA firms on the Southside of Atlanta, to help place 600 of the posters in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the county.
Loggins has been most recognized by his fellow Rotarians for his coordination of the Georgia Rotary Student Program. For several years, Loggins has organized the program, which brings international college students studying at colleges all over Georgia to the Southern Crescent to share in a day of fun activities. He believes that making friends in other countries is vital.
"With the club in general ... we feel like we can achieve world understanding by having friends in other countries," said Loggins. "It's important to reach out to the students of the world, to help them understand that the United States isn't this horrible place." This year, through the international program Loggins put together, around 80 Georgia international students will meet at DixieLand Fun Park in Fayetteville the weekend after Labor Day.
"We're all trying to work for a common good," said Loggins. "I don't think anybody is trying to out-do anything. We're just trying to make the world a better place."