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Bill and Betty Sims honored with Chamber’s Citizen of the Year award

Thursday, April 10, 2014

RELEASE 14-007

On Thursday, Bill and Betty Sims of Decatur were presented with the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce Miss Athelyne C. Banks Citizen of the Year award for their contributions and volunteer activism in the community.

The award, presented each year at the Chamber's Annual Meeting, is named after the longtime Decatur educator and honors those whose life reflects the dedication, service and faithfulness to Decatur modeled in the example of Miss Banks.

"Dr. and Mrs. Sims share a deep passion for this community, but they don't just talk about it, they show you through their willingness to give of themselves," said John Seymour, president and CEO of the Chamber. "They are models for servant leadership. Their faithfulness and commitment to the lives of others has inspired other leaders in Morgan County and is an example for all of us. They both inspire, encourage and empower, and I can't reflect on this area without reflecting on their impact."

A native of Cartersville, Ga., Betty Brandon Sims is a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she majored in foods and nutrition and was active in both the Greek community and student government. She later went on to what was then known as Memphis State University to receive her elementary teaching certificate. Later in life, she studied culinary arts with Martha Stewart in Westport, Conn., Peter Kump in New York City, at the Culinary Institute of America and Cordon Bleu in Paris. Her talents in cuisine led to her being the owner of the Johnston Street Café and Scrumptious Inc, both in Decatur. In her community life, she serves a variety of leadership positions in the Morgan-Lawrence Medical Auxiliary, including president; the Decatur Junior Service League; Oak Park Middle School Parent Teacher Association; board member of the Chamber; the Decatur General Hospital Foundation; the United Way of Morgan County; the American Red Cross; the Decatur City Schools Foundation; Hospice; Decatur Mainstreet Association; Heritage Bank; and First Presbyterian Church of Decatur. She is a 1996 recipient of the International Athena Award from the Chamber, a 1993 recipient of the Community Leadership Award at the Decatur General Foundation Gala, and the 1990 Merchant of the Year award recipient from the Chamber. She has published four cookbooks.

William Arthur Sims was born in Jefferson, Tenn., and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he was co-captain of the varsity swim team. He went on to graduate from the University of Tennessee Memphis Medical Units and served several surgical and orthopedic residencies in Memphis area hospitals and clinics. His military service included the U.S. Army Reserve, where he rose to the rank of captain and was the past commanding officer for the Orthopedic Detachment, 306th Field Hospital in Memphis. He is a current or past member of a long list of medical and orthopedic associations, including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the North American Spine Society, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the American Medical Association, the Clinical Orthopaedic Society, the Alabama Orthopaedic Society, the National Rehabilitation Society, the Committee for Quality Orthopaedic Health Care and the North Alabama ALS Association. He served as past chief of staff, chief of surgery and chief of orthopaedics at Decatur General Hospital and past-president of the Morgan County Medical Society. Among his many awards and honors, he is a recipient of the President's Distinguished Service Award from Calhoun Community College, recipient honoree at the 1995 Decatur General Hospital Foundation Gala, 2003 Outstanding Alumni award from the University of Tennessee, the Paul Harris Citizen of the Year award from the Rotary Club of Morgan County and a 2006 resolution from the City of Decatur naming the city bike trail in his honor.

The Sims married in 1959, have four children – Elizabeth Sims Patrick, Sheryl Sims Hofherr, Lisa Sims Wallace and William A. Sims, Jr. (deceased) – and seven grandchildren. They reside in Decatur.

Ms. Banks – for whom the award is named – devoted 42 years of her life to education, serving 29 of them with Decatur City Schools. She was a public school teacher, the first woman principal at Carver Elementary School and a public school administrator. The award will honor a member of our community whose life reflects the dedication, service and faithfulness to Decatur modeled in the example of Miss Banks. Chamber members submitted nominations for the award, and applications were judged by a committee of past recipients.

The Chamber wishes to thank its Strategic Partners for their support.

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