Georgians to receive Profile in Courage Award -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Georgians to receive Profile in Courage Award

^Former Georgia State Rep. Dan Ponder ^Former Georgia State Rep. Dan Ponder
Ponder makes a speech during his legislative term Ponder makes a speech during his legislative term

May 9, 2003

Seminole County - It's been called the "Nobel of Government"and two of the three national winners are from Georgia. Former Governor Roy Barnes and former State Representative Dan Ponder, Junior. They will be honored with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Dan Ponder, Jr., a Donalsonville businessman. He says, "My wife said I had two phone calls, one was from our daughter who was in Hong Kong and the other was Caroline Kennedy." Caroline Kennedy called to tell him he won the 2003 John F. Kennedy Profile Courage Award. He says, "I was totally surprised, I had no idea I had been nominated and I had no idea I was being considered, which part of it makes this such a nice thing for me and my family, it was totally unexpected and came out of nowhere."

The reason he won was because of the un-expected. In 2000 Ponder stood up on the House floor and gave a surprising speech. He explains, "It was time for me to stand and for some reason I knew there wasn't going to be anybody else."

Ponder told a personal story, encouraging 33 Representatives to change their vote, passing the much debated Hate Crimes Bill. The bill outlaws and punishes all hate crimes. He says, "The reaction was immediate and very gratifying and heartwarming."

Ponder now works full-time as a Hardee's franchisee in Seminole County. Ponder will be featured on NBC's Today Show, Monday morning between 7:30 and 8:00.

The other Georgian who's receiving the prestigious award is former Governor Roy Barnes. His political courage revolves around the controversial state flag. The third winner is former South Carolina Governor David Beasley.

The men will accept their award on May 12 in Boston.


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