The Senator George Hooks Award recognizes excellence in public leadership in the state of Georgia and is given at the discretion of The Georgia Trust Board of Trustees. It is named in honor of Senator George Hooks, a strong supporter of the preservation of Georgia’s history and culture, who served in the Georgia General Assembly for 32 years.
A lifelong resident of Hancock County, Helen “Sistie” Hudson has dedicated her working life to public service. She served on the Sparta City Council, served as Mayor of Sparta, and served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 16 years. As the current chair of the Hancock County Board of Commissioners, Ms. Hudson is the driving force behind the resurrection of the historic Hancock County Courthouse. When the courthouse burned in August 2014, she was among the first to gather around the square at 3:30 in the morning. With only the exterior masonry walls remaining, demolition of the courthouse seemed inevitable, but Sistie advocated for rebuilding the grand structure that stood as the symbolic and functional center of the community. Thanks to a sound insurance policy and Sistie’s leadership and determination, the courthouse’s reconstruction began in January 2015 and is expected to be finished in August 2016.