Dalton businessman Bob Chandler said he was just a little reluctant when he was told he'd been selected as the 2019 Toast of the Town honoree.
"I'm not comfortable with the spotlight, so my first reaction was 'Nah, I don't want to do it,'" he said. "But we talked about it and how it is a fundraiser for the Family Support Council. I know the good work they do, and I thought that if it will help them I'll do it. To me, that's what this night is about, not me but the Family Support Council."
Thursday night at The Farm, friends, family members and local dignitaries came together to honor Chandler for his work in the community as the Family Support Council's honoree for the 30th annual Toast of the Town.
A Dalton native and graduate of the University of Georgia, where he played football for legendary coach Vince Dooley, Chandler grew up in the carpet industry. His father, I.V. Chandler, started a bedspread manufacturing business known as Patcraft Mills, which he began working for after he graduated from college. Queen Carpet acquired Patcraft in 1990, and Queen was acquired by Shaw Industries eight years later. Today, Chandler is executive vice president of the Shaw Commercial Division.
He also serves as chairman of the board of Hamilton Medical Center and vice chairman of Hamilton Health Care System and as an elder of ChristChurch Presbyterian. He has been active in many other community organizations over the years.
On Thursday he was more eager to talk about the Family Support Council than his own accomplishments.
"They are the advocates for the children in our community," he said. "I can't think of a more noble cause than that."
The Family Support Council focuses on preventing child abuse and neglect in Whitfield and Murray counties. Among other services, it provides residential services and life skills coaching to teen mothers, advocacy services for abused and neglected children, support groups and other activities for grandparents raising grandchildren, and parenting classes.
"We served over 16,000 people in 2018," said Family Support Council Executive Director Holly Rice.
JoAnne Shirley, a longtime friend of Chandler, said she isn't surprised that he didn't want to claim the spotlight.
"He's a private person. He does a lot for the community, but he does things behind the scenes," she said.
Lou Kirkman, president of the Family Support Council's board of directors, said Chandler is a humble man.
"He truly has a servant's heart," she said.
Brenda Knowles, vice president of commercial marketing and product development at Shaw Industries, has worked with Chandler for many years and said he believes strongly in the community.
"He is such a compassionate person," she said. "He really cares about people, and he lives a life of servant leadership. That's just who he is."
Karen Townsend, fundraising chair for the Family Support Council, said the Toast of the Town is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year. She said this year's Toast of the Town is its biggest event yet.
"We've raised more money this year than ever before, over $75,000, and we are very excited about that," she said.