Jun. 3—For the first time since 2019, the Family Support Council held its Toast of the Town fundraiser at The Farm Thursday night. and Family Support Council Executive Director Holly Rice said it was the organization's biggest event ever.
"We are expecting 319 people here tonight," she said. "It's exciting to be back. This is our biggest fundraiser each year."
The people were there to support the Family Support Council, which 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.
And they were there at the 32nd Toast of the Town to pay tribute to the night's honoree, Dalton surgeon Dr. Reginald Sherrill.
"I was honored when they told me I had been selected," Sherrill said. "I didn't feel I deserved it. But it's great to see so many friends and colleagues here, and this is for a good cause. I am happy to help support it."
Sherrill was born in Texas and graduated from Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California in 1977. He completed a three-year general surgery residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center. He then went to Wright State University Kettering Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio, for his plastic surgery residency, which he completed in 1982.
He moved with his family to Dalton to practice medicine in 1982. Today, Sherrill has his own medical practice, Dalton Plastic Surgery, and is active in many local organizations.
Karen Townsend, fundraising chair for the Family Support Council, is head of the committee that selects the annual Toast of the Town honoree.
"When we started talking to people in the community about the person we should honor this year, Dr. Sherrill's name kept coming up," she said. "He isn't out front. He doesn't want credit. He prefers to work behind the scenes, but he's helped a lot of different organizations over the years, helped the community in a lot of ways."
Dalton businessman Bob Chandler, the 2019 Toast of the Town honoree, said Sherrill is a great choice.
"Everyone knows Dr. Sherrill," he said. "He's very well liked and respected in Dalton."
Like Sherrill, Chandler said his initial reaction when approached by the Family Support Council was to tell them he didn't think he deserved the honor.
"But I thought about it and how it is a fundraiser for the Family Support Council," he said. "I know the good work they do, and I thought that if it will help them I'll do it. That's really what this night is about."
Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said it was a pleasure to be at the event.
"Dr. Sherrill has a lot of friends in Dalton, so I'm sure there will be a lot of people here tonight," he said. "And this is one of the best causes we can support. The Family Support Council does a lot of good work. They need all the support and recognition we can give it."
Dalton City Council member Steve Farrow said he attends Toast of the Town every year.
"They honored my father (Dr. Roy Farrow) one year," he said. "And this is a great cause that I am very happy to support."
Toast of the Town was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Family Support Council planned to hold the event in 2021 and had selected Robert E. "Bob" Shaw, founder and chairman of Engineered Floors and co-founder and longtime head of Shaw Industries, as the honoree. But when Whitfield County saw COVID-19 numbers spiking again, the group decided to cancel the event. Instead, Townsend, Chandler and a few others presented Shaw with his award at his office.
"We were fortunate," said Rice. "We did get some donations from people that had planned to come out and honor Mr. Shaw. That really helped us and we are grateful. But it's really good to be back."