The 2021 Product of Putnam Recipients selected by the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, Palatka Daily News, and Putnam County School District:
Agriculture- Scott Brauman, 1992 Graduate of Palatka High School
Education- Sharice Williams, 1995 Graduate of Palatka High School
Industrial Manufacturing- Wade Dallas, 1977 Graduate of Palatka South High School
Community Service- Heather Hoffman, 1997 Graduate of Interlachen High School
Business- Matt Buckles, 1995 Graduate of Palatka High School
Healthcare- Aaron Hall, 1996 Graduate of Palatka High School
Public Service- Trinisha Austin, 1996 Graduate of Crescent City Jr.-Sr. High School
The Putnam County School District has for the third year honored seven local community leaders, all former Putnam County students who live in the county and give back to the community.
This year’s Product of Putnam recipients are Scott Brauman for agriculture; Matt Buckles, business; Sharice Williams, education; Aaron Hall, health care; Wade Dallas Sr., industrial manufacturing; Trinisha Austin, public service; and Heather Hoffman, community service.
The initiative was formed to promote former students who can serve as examples to current students. Dr. Surrency personally called each recipient to congratulate them on being chosen as a ‘Product of Putnam’ and he invited them to the PCSD Board Meeting on June 1st at 3:30PM (this afternoon) to be recognized and receive a special plaque. Also, they will each be invited to their respective high school graduation ceremonies where they will be recognized in Dr. Surrency's remarks.
Scott Brauman graduated from Palatka High School in 1992.
He goes above and beyond for not only the agriculture communities with their logging business, cattle farm, and feed store but also contributes in a variety of ways for the entire Putnam County community. Scott and his family have always been actively involved in the Putnam County Fair as well as the Jr. Cattlemen Association.
Brauman said graduates should, “Always remember where you came from. Work hard and make your momma proud.”
“Find your talent, stick with it and make a difference in the community,” Brauman said. “Be someone that when others look at you they say ‘He has something special, and I want it too!’”
Sharice Williams graduated from Palatka High School in 1995 and now serves as Assistant Principal at Ochwilla Elementary School. She is full of energy and enthusiasm for her work. Sharice can find the positive in almost any situation; especially this year with all it’s challenges.
“I have never met anyone more dedicated to giving back to their community,” read one of William's nomination statements. “She is a hard worker who cares deeply for her community and wants to make it a better place. She wins the hearts of everyone who has the pleasure of coming in contact with her through her selfless acts of kindness and generosity.”
Another nominator that works with Williams daily said, “I have witnessed her, as our assistant principal, help set up new classrooms, clean tables in the cafeteria, and deliver food and other materials to class. She is well loved by all of the students and staff and is the true example of a leader and role model.”
Wade Dallas Sr. graduated from Palatka South High School in 1977. He is a former Marine and retired from Georgia Pacific after more than 30 years of service. He is always willing to help others and is well known as a very kind Christian man.
Dallas wanted to tell recent graduates to use their God gifted talents and abilities to make an impact in our society.
He is a true testament to the success of individuals that chose to graduate from, stay, work, and live in Putnam County.
Heather Hoffman, Interlachen High School class of 1997, said she was very proud to have been chosen as one of the honorees for ‘Product of Putnam’.
Hoffman said many people invested in her future. “There were several teachers who stood out and were amazing during my school years,” she then went on to list individuals and how they helped shape her into the person she is today. “Ms. Marcia Carr (now Dixon), who inspired confidence in me and helped me become proficient at public speaking; Ms. Laurie Warren who encouraged me to reach for the stars and showed us that learning could be fun; and Mr. Neal Stephenson who always pushed me to try harder and to demand greatness of myself.”
Hoffman hopes graduates will never let anyone tell them that they can’t achieve greatness. “You have it within yourself to achieve anything you dream of, but, above all, you have to believe in yourself. Leave your footprints on the world and show everyone exactly what you can do!”
Matt Buckles graduated from Palatka High School in 1995.
He enjoys a successful career as the General Manager for Beck Chevy GMC -Buick with the Beck Automotive Group. He is an active member of the Palatka Rotary Clubs and volunteers to sing the National Anthem at many events across Putnam County.
Buckles said his parents have helped to shape his life along with countless teachers and coaches. Buckles said graduates can, “be successful regardless of where you are or what career path you choose if you are willing to work hard enough, learn, and be accountable for your outcomes.”
“Be the change you want to see in the world...It starts with you.”
Aaron Hall graduated from Palatka High School in 1996 and is now a local pharmacist in Putnam County.
“Staying in Putnam County was not on my original To-Do List,” Hall said, “However, sometimes life will go a different route than originally planned. I can say it has been fulfilling to serve the citizens of my hometown. Knowing that you're providing a level of care to people that love and support you is gratitude in itself.”
Hall wanted to tell recent graduates, “One may think Putnam doesn't have many opportunities; and in some instances you may have to leave to pursue your dreams. The factor to remember is that there is always room for growth right here in Putnam. Even if you leave home to further your education or trade, always think about how Putnam may benefit from that which you've learned.”
Trinisha Austin graduated from Crescent City Jr.-Sr. High School in 1996. Austin is a dedicated public servant who has selflessly served as a Deputy Clerk at the clerk's office for 22 years. In addition to a career dedicated to public service, she is an active volunteer with Epic Cure volunteering multiple times a week and is extremely active in the South Putnam community.
Austin is the perfect example of someone who believes in service above self to ensure this community is one we are proud to call home. Many people resort to other places, but she was born and raised in Putnam and continues to give back to the place she calls home. She wants to encourage graduates to, “Choose a career in public service. You have an opportunity to earn a living wage, serve the residents of this great county, and effect positive change.”
“An education is key in today’s society. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish any goals you set in life. Anything you set out to accomplish can be accomplished. Keep God first in all you and he will direct your way.”
The 2021 Product of Putnam Recipients were selected by the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, Palatka Daily News, and Putnam County School District.