More than 60 people filled the upstairs portion of the terminal at the Cherokee County Regional Airport Monday to remember former Cherokee County Airport Authority Chairman Don Stevens.

Stevens died in January after a brief illness, the Tribune previously reported. He is remembered as a longtime community leader; he chaired the Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority and the board of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, and was named the chamber’s First Citizen in 2004. He and his wife started Canton First United Methodist Church’s Cherokee Thanksgiving program, and helped create the county’s DUI Court. He was also a volunteer firefighter.

During the ceremony, the airport authority officially dedicated the terminal’s conference room in Stevens’ memory.

With the help of some of Stevens’ family, CCAA Chairman Steve Mammen unveiled the plaque hanging next to the conference room door, honoring a man who dedicated himself to making the airport the best it could possibly be.

“When he died, the county lost one of its finest citizens,” Mammen said. “His contributions will be a part of Cherokee County history forever.”

State Rep. Charlice Byrd, R-Woodstock, was on hand to present a copy of House Resolution 424, which she sponsored in the Georgia House of Representatives in Stevens’ honor during the most recent legislative term, to his widow Lila Stevens. Byrd described Don Stevens as one of her dearest friends, a man who brought laughter, joy and sunshine to everyone, and someone who was always willing to give his time and energy to a multitude of different causes.

“Don Stevens was very special to me,” Byrd said. “It meant the world to be able to do this for him.”

Cherokee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Harry Johnston said the airport is a tremendous asset for the county, and nobody had more to do with making the airport into what it is than Don Stevens.

Following the ceremony, Lila Stevens said it was overwhelming to her to see so many people turn out to recognize her late husband and pay tribute to his hard work and dedication to help shape Cherokee County into what it has become.

“I was so blessed to be married to him for 47 years,” she said.

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