The honor — presented by U.S Sen. Johnny Isakson, state Sen. Lindsey Tippins, county Chairman Tim Lee, Attorney General Sam Olens, Cobb Chamber Chairman Tony Britton and Cobb Chamber CEO David Connell — was given to Brumby during the Marietta Kiwanis Club’s meeting at the Hilton Marietta Conference Center.
Several of the speakers referred to Brumby as “the conscience of the community.” The crowd gave Brumby three standing ovations.
Tippins said that he often sought Brumby’s advice when he was on the Cobb school board, and he came to appreciate that “his answers were insightful, and they were to the point. You didn’t have to wonder what he thought.”
Connell said the recognition is “well overdue.”
“What he has done to impact this community with over 700,000 people is amazing,” he said.
Conley Ingram, a senior Cobb Superior Court judge, said: “Perhaps Otis’ greatest contribution of his lifetime may be the strong role he’s always played to protect the First Amendment. He has been, and he continues to be, a champion of the First Amendment, even though the battles he’s fought have not always been popular or even appreciated.”
Ingram also lauded Brumby’s devotion to his wife, Martha Lee, their five children and their 10 grandchildren.
“He’s the real thing when it comes to love for his family. He’s a fabulous example of what a husband, father and grandfather should be,” she said.
Isakson said, “I don’t know how many people got their start in Otis’ newsroom, but a lot did, and I’ve worked with every one of them. They all give a part of their credit to the hard work and, yes, the hard criticism, that Otis would give, but he made better reporters out of them, and many of them serve the same role in their community that Otis has served in his.”
Olens presented the award to Brumby at the end of the luncheon and recalled that, as the former county chairman, the Journal publisher was always willing to help Cobb organizations in need and often went above and beyond just a mention in the newspaper
Brumby has been a member of the Marietta Kiwanis Club for nearly 50 years.