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R.O. Arnold Award

Mr. Robert O. Arnold set the standard by which a community measures its greatest citizens. In business leadership, community outreach, church service and, most importantly, education, he had no equal. Today, we honor his memory and his example, by giving the R.O. Arnold Award to individuals that display extraordinary community service.

Past recipients of the R.O. Arnold Award include:

Home Sharp

Thomas J. White

S.J. Morcock (Sappy)

E.G. Lassiter

Leon Cohen

Ed Hunt

R.R. Fowler, Jr.

Donald Stephenson

Carl Smith

Bond Fleming

B.C. Crowell

Ed Robinson

John Williams

Roy L. Varner

Dr. W.L. Dobbs

Charlie Elliott

Rob Fowler, III

Dr. James Purcell

Frank Turner

Philip Cohen

T.K. and Louise Adams

Bobbie Banks

Judy Greer

Sam Ramsey

Betty Bellairs

Samuel Burney Hay, Jr.

Edward & Lenora Needham

Jerry & Lee Aldridge

Dr. Melvin O. Baker

Jim Weadick

Judge Samuel Ozburn

Bill Loeble

Billy Fortson

Buncie Hay-Lanners

Judge Horace J. Johnson

Denny M. Dobbs

Almond Turner

Wendell Crowe

Phil Stone

R.O. Arnold History

The history of this prestigious award starts with one individual, Mr. R.O. Arnold. Mr. Arnold was born October 24, 1888, in Hampton, Georgia. He died January 25, 1983 at Newton County Hospital after a long illness. In the years between those two dates, “Mr. Bob” as he was known to so many, achieved numerous lofty goals.

He entered college at 16 and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1908. Shortly after, he became the youngest Mayor of Athens, GA, at 24 years old – to this date, we think he still is! He resigned from his position as Mayor when he was commissioned to serve in the U.S. Army as a captain in World War I. He lived and worked in Athens upon his return to the states, and in March of 1930, Mr. Arnold married Florence Turner of Covington. Two years later they moved to Covington where he became the treasurer and general manager of Covington Mills. He later became president and chief executive officer of these mills.

Mr. Arnold served on the board of many businesses and associations and was a tremendous philanthropist.  He was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church and helped organize the Covington/Newton County United Fund.    He was also on the State Board of the YMCA, was Commander of the American Legion Post 32, a Life Member of the Capitol City Club, President of the UGA Alumni Society, and Member of the Blue Key, Gridiron Society, and Sphinx Society. He was also on the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia and served a Chairman of that Board from 1951-1963. 

After a long and illustrious business career, Mr. Arnold used his financial resources and position to help the people of Newton County.  As a part of the Arnold Fund, some of the money is used to fund several scholarships, which go to students that are currently attending college.  The selection is supervised by the Kiwanis Club of Covington, of which he was a member for 57 years.  The Arnold Fund continues to contribute to the good of Covington and Newton County.

The Arnolds gave unselfishly of their love and resources to this community not only by establishing scholarship funds but also by equipping Newton General Hospital, establishing a concert series, and by giving anonymous assistance to countless individuals and families in need.

Mr. Robert O. Arnold set the standard by which a community measures its greatest citizens.  In business leadership, community outreach, church service and, most importantly, education, he had no equal.  Today, we honor his memory and his example, by giving the R.O. Arnold Award to individuals that display extraordinary community service.

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