• Celebrating a Commitment to a Better Coweta

    One of the highlights of the civic year in Coweta County is the announcement of the Citizen of the Year. This award, presented annually by the Kiwanis Clubs of Coweta County, is designed to honor an individual with outstanding leadership and citizenship within our community, someone who has demonstrated exemplary vision, civic pride, and a strong commitment to a better Coweta.

  • Citizen of the Year Gerald Kemp makes the next generation a priority

    By W. Winston Skinner
    Photo by Clay Neely

    For local banker Gerald Kemp, investing himself in the lives of young people is a longtime priority. Kemp’s dedication to a variety of efforts that help children and youth led to his selection as the 2024 Citizen of the Year (COTY) by the Kiwanis Clubs of Coweta County. “Kids – that’s where you can really make a difference,” he said.

    Kemp, a senior vice president with Ameris Bank, is the former chairman of Elevate Coweta Students, an organization that connects students and families with resources to help those students succeed.  Kemp’s COTY award came with a $1,000 contribution to Elevate Coweta. He accepted the award at the COTY ceremonies at the Newnan Centre on Jan. 25. Cynthia Bennett, last year’s Citizen of the Year recipient, presented the award to Kemp. Kemp was one of the first mentors to work with students in the Coweta County School System. Kemp’s wife recently ran into a man who recognized her because Kemp had been a mentor to him several years ago.

    The man said, “You just don’t know how much that meant,” and said he particularly appreciated Kemp teaching him how to manage money.

    “You can really make a difference when you start with kids, especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds,” Kemp reflected.

    Kemp is a past president of the Newnan Rotary Club and has taken leadership roles with Newnan-Coweta United Way, the University of West Georgia, the local Boys & Girls Clubs and the Newnan-Coweta Chamber. He served on an advisory committee to the Coweta County Schools superintendent and is a Meals on Wheels volunteer. Kemp coaches basketball and football teams through the Coweta County Recreation Department, and serves as a member of Les Bons Hommes Civic and Social Club, an organization that provides scholarships and mentoring. Kemp’s faith plays a significant role in what he undertakes in the community.
    "It plays a huge role,” he said. “Any Christian would say the same thing.”

    He remembered the WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? – bracelets from a few years back. He likes “the attitude and the mindset” of that concept.
    “The Golden Rule is huge,” he said.

    Kemp is a teen Sunday school teacher and a deacon at Zion Hill Baptist Church, where he established a scholarship fund and sponsored financial literacy seminars. Other nominees for Citizen of the Year this year included April Anderson, Dee Berry, Pat Craven, Pamela Gabel, Dean Jackson, Doug Kees, Dr. Jaami Rutledge, Chris Stephens, and Robert Guy Ward.



  • 2024 Citizen of the Year 
    Gerald Kemp

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  • 2023 Citizen of the Year 
    Cynthia Bennett

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