Horace Hamilton received the 2013 Legacy Award from the Georgia Food Industry Association Saturday evening. Hamilton, who retired as VP of merchandising for The Kroger Co.’s Atlanta division in April, was surprised with the honor by Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, a friend to whom Hamilton actually thought he was presenting an award.
“This is an extraordinary honor,” Hamilton told the crowd after viewing a slideshow of his life and career. He noted the recognition was especially meaningful because he nominated Ron Bishop to receive the award. Bishop died in May at the age of 54.
Hamilton is the past chairman of the GFIA and a longtime supporter of the organization. His wife, Debbie, was by his side to accept the honor. She also helped the GFIA staff and Black coordinate what Black referred to as the “deception” of making Hamilton believe he was presenting a service award to Black.
GFIA President Kathy Kuzava explained the plan was necessary after Hamilton planned earlier this year to leave the convention before the awards ceremony Saturday evening. Kuzava said she knew Hamilton would change his travel schedule if he was asked to present an award to Black, his friend of many years.
In the featured photo at top are Horace Hamilton and Gary Black. Read more about Hamilton and his career, as well as the GFIA Convention, in the September print edition of The Shelby Report of the Southeast. (Go here for more photos from the GFIA Convention, which wrapped up Saturday in Destin, Fla.)