2022 Coweta Golden Eagle Dinner Celebrates The Headley Family’s Legacy of Service

Staff Report

Monday, March 28th, 2022

Chief on the agenda of a Golden Eagle Dinner held Thursday evening at the Newnan Centre was to present Mason Headley with his Eagle Scout Award. The highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America, and awarded to just four percent of the millions of Scouts worldwide, it is a special honor held by United States Presidents, Astronauts, Nobel Prize laureates, Medal of Honor recipients, Members of Congress, and now, three generations of Headley men. Mason, a Newnan High School senior, became the 10th local member of the Headley Family to earn the distinguished award.

Mason is the son of Mitch Headley, President of Headley Construction, and grandson of Bill Headley, who founded downtown Newnan’s most awarded commercial contracting company over 50 years ago. Bill Headley was awarded the Eagle rank when he was just 15 years old, and took his responsibility to demonstrate leadership very seriously — in Scouts, in his business, in his community, and most of all, in his family. He led numerous young men to become Eagle Scouts, including all four of his sons, Bill, Jr., Mitch, Matt and Luke. All of these men, in turn, served in various Scouting leadership roles over the years. 

Mason Headley started his own Scouting career as a Cub Scout in Pack 47 at Central Baptist Church in Newnan, growing into leadership roles as Quartermaster and Interim Senior Patrol Leader. It was through his recent attendance at Four Corners Church that Mason recognized a need he could meet through his Eagle Scout Service Project: constructing a concrete and masonry monument sign base for the Church’s Main Campus. Completed over several weekends and requiring more than 90 man hours, the monument sign construction involved excavation with heavy equipment, a concrete truck pour, and masonry work using large, manufactured, marble stone blocks. The monument sign will benefit Four Corners for decades to come, and it aptly represents Mason’s Service to God and Community. 

Over a decade since his concrete mixer truck won the Most Unique award at the Coweta District Pinewood Derby, and mere weeks after he successfully completed construction of his complex service project, Mason’s Eagle Board of Review was conducted at the Masonic Lodge in Senoia, Georgia earlier this month. His application for the rank of Eagle was reviewed and approved by the Flint River Council, and validated by the National Advancement Team. 

During a moving ceremony to recognize his steadfast commitment to Scouting and present him with his Eagle Award, Mason was supported by his grandfather, Bill, parents Mitch and Margaret, and sisters Mary Beth and Madison Headley. Bill’s nephew and Mason’s cousin once-removed, Robert Headley, was a guest of honor at the head table. The family was joined by Joel Richardson, Pastor of Central Baptist Church, and his wife, Ingrid. After a bustling reception and Presentation of Colors by Troop 47, the Headley Family gathered en masse to be presented with the Headley Service to Scouting Award by Dr. Richardson.  

Georgia State Representative Lynn Smith was among the attending political heavyweights, along with Newnan’s legendary Bob Coggin and longtime City Council Member George Alexander, who became an Eagle Scout himself in 1967, and currently Chairs the Flint River Council Coweta District. They were joined by a veritable Who’s Who in Coweta County, including Sheriff Lenn Wood who dined with Chief Deputy Jimmy Yarbrough, Lieutenant Eric Smith, Majors Stephen Crook and Mark Fenninger, and their wives. District Attorney Herb Cranford, Jr. and retired U.S. Federal Judge Jack Camp were also spotted among the many distinguished guests.

Councilwoman Cynthia Jenkins was recognized for her exemplary service to the community later in the program. Joined by her parents, and introduced by author Carl Ware, the Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity CEO was in high spirits after her organization was selected as a recipient of a $1.25M grant from billionaire philanthropist Mackenzie Scott. Under her careful leadership, the unrestricted funding will help the affiliate revitalize communities in the South Metropolitan Atlanta area.

Jim Thomasson of 75 Jackson Properties was another of the evening’s honorees. The property mogul was accompanied by his lovely wife, Jennifer, dapper son, JJ, gracious daughter, Cheney, and their spouses. Charmingly introduced by his Scoutmaster Bill Headley, both men delighted guests with their memories of Jim’s early years as a Boy Scout. One memorable story involved a pair of bell bottoms and a bicycle, another Jim’s 1979 trip to the Boy Scouts of America’s World Jamboree in Sweden. In his closing remarks, Jim spoke passionately about LINC, and the ways in which the popular multi-use trail system connects Newnan’s neighbors with the community and each other. 

Noted sculptor Carol Harless, widow of the late Dr. Joe Harless (who conceived the Central Education Center model and other talent pipeline initiatives in the area), was a special guest of Bill Headley. She was joined by dear friends, Kiwanis Clubs of Coweta County’s 2022 Citizen of the Year Norma Haynes, and Joann Ray, who has passionately served the City of Newnan Art Commission, Newnan-Coweta Historical Society, and countless other local organizations. The trio were recognized as Curved Bars, the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts. 

Local artist Bette Hickman kindly hosted a table full of fellow Eagle Scout mothers. As they were acknowledged, Mitch Headley remembered his own late mother, Anita, certain the evening would have made her heart soar. 

Kind is just one of 12 principles a Boy Scout lives by, the others including cheerful, trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, obedient, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. With over two hundred guests in attendance, it was certainly the case that a great many loyal friends of the Headley Family ventured out for the splendid affair. 

Coweta Board of Educators Vice-Chairman Andrew Copeland and Member Beth Barnett were both on hand to celebrate Mason Headley’s commitment to academic excellence. Like many scouts before him, Mason juggled Scouting with many other activities. He has earned a 4.0 GPA in challenging Advanced Placement STEM courses. Thanks to his focus on academic excellence, Mason serves as a Newnan Ambassador and is active in Beta Club and the National Honor Society. In addition to maintaining his grades and strong commitment to community service, Mason has also excelled in his athletic pursuits. He runs Cross Country and Track for the Newnan Cougars, earning Varsity letters in both. Planning to study Computer Science, Mason will head to Mercer University in the Fall. He has accepted the Jesse Mercer Academic Scholarship, a merit-based award granted only to top students entering the university. 

After a delicious meal, Master of Ceremonies John Thrasher of Josey, Young & Brady shared the stage with sustainable developer Bill Millen. The community visionary behind MillBuilt charged the crowded ballroom with supporting ongoing efforts of the Flint River Council for the next generation of Scouts – which includes Harris Headley, Mason’s younger cousin. Harris is currently a First Class Scout on his way to Eagle, following in the family tradition. His father, Luke Headley, received the rank during a similar ceremony held at Central Baptist Church in the 1990s. 

CBC Pastor Matt Sapp and his wife, Julie, were among the reverent in attendance to celebrate three generations of Headley’s Service to Scouting. Jimmy and Amy Patterson of First Baptist Church of Newnan nodded in agreement as Mason’s devotion to God was highlighted during the program, perhaps recalling his baptism at FBC many years ago. 

The evening raised over $95,000 to benefit Boy Scouts of America, thanks in no small part to organizers including Flint River Council’s Robert Allen, Aaron Gluck, Ben Robuck, Russell Berry, Frank Farmer, Jr., Laurie Pope and Otis Jones III. 

Surrounded by lush landscaping in full spring bloom, the beautifully appointed Newnan Centre remains one of the best event venues in Coweta County. Under the careful direction of Carol Moore, Peyton Shelnutt and Mitch Headley’s cousin, Stewart Johnston, the spacious ballroom inside the SPLOST-funded facility was so artfully arranged that everyone in attendance had the best seat in the house. 

None sat prouder than Mason Headley, Coweta’s newest Eagle Scout. 

After receiving his prestigious and hard-earned distinction, Mason watched along with his guests as Cynthia Jenkins and Jim Thomasson were honored for their own dedicated service to the community. Their supporters and friends departed for the night with a renewed sense of joy, optimism, appreciation and hope for the future of Coweta.