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Lodge benefactors recognized
Bagwells honored at Law Day lunch
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Charlotte Dewberry, right, congratulates North Forsyth High School student Jenna Martin, winner of the 2010 Richard B. Neville Scholarship Award. - photo by Jim Dean
A local couple known for their charitable work in the community is the recipient of this year’s Liberty Bell Award.

Forsyth County Superior Court Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley presented the honor Friday to Tommy and Chantal Bagwell as part of the local bar association’s Law Day luncheon festivities.

He said he chose the Bagwells as the recipients because of their contributions to the Bald Ridge Boys Lodge.

The nonprofit facility houses boys ages 12 to 17 who are in the custody of the Division of Family and Children Services or referred by the Forsyth County Juvenile Court.

“Their specific contributions and donations to the boys’ lodge actually have contributed to the effective functioning of our institutions of government, that being the judiciary,” Bagley said.

“Their donations have provided a safe place for children to go when neither parent is capable of caring for that child and they are not appropriate for foster care.”

He explained that he thought of the lodge while presiding over a recent case.

Bagley said he concluded that a 17-year-old involved in the matter shouldn’t go with either parent. With representatives from DFCS on furlough, someone suggested he send the teenager to the lodge.

“Without this facility being available, I don’t know what I would have done,” Bagley said. “So I really now truly appreciate its existence and also the ones who have made it possible.”

Bagley and Forsyth County Superior Court Judge David L. Dickinson also recognized students from Brookwood and Whitlow elementary schools. The fifth-graders won this year’s Law Day art and essay contests.

North Forsyth High School Senior Jenna Martin received the Richard B. Neville Scholarship.

This year’s keynote speaker was Max Wood, a former U.S. Department of Justice special attaché to Iraq and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

Wood, who is running for Georgia’s attorney general, spoke about his experiences during the trial of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Law Day is an annual event observed by state and local bar associations nationwide.