2022 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner: Distinguished Service
Stewart Fuqua (80A)
A contractor by trade, Stewart gave 23 years as a volunteer firefighter, including 21 years as president of the fire department. Under his leadership, the fire department grew significantly in number of volunteers and square footage, building an addition to the original station and later adding a second to improve response times. He led in writing a grant application that brought $75,000 in federal funding for equipment, served at multiple fundraisers each year and provided gifts and stockings for the fire fighters' children at the department's annual dinner.
He also responded to numerous calls, from wrecks to fire investigations. Some were simple and non-life threatening. Many were much more serious, whether it was a devastating house fire or wrecks with serious injuries and horrific deaths. He even responded to medical calls where he performed life-saving CPR.
Stewart also has spent two weeks each year for two decades serving on mission in Guatemala. In one town, he and his teammates built a modern school with classrooms, a library and a kitchen to replace the existing one held in an open-air barn. The volunteers worked with a local construction crew, both learning about construction methods in Guatemala and sharing their building knowledge and tools.
Back home, Stewart gives ongoing service with the Christmas food basket program and Habitat for Humanity projects of his church. He also volunteers to make improvements at a church camp in his area. When campers and adults at the camp discovered a need for a family they were serving, they knew Stewart was the person to call. He volunteered to design a wheelchair ramp and supervised the crew as they worked together to meet the family's need.
That same can-do spirit is evident when Stewart returns to Berry for Alumni Work Week. A fixture at the event since 1998, he now serves as a crew chief during the week and says he "accepted the honor with great personal pride and was determined to prove myself worthy." Assigned tasks have ranged from small repairs to mammoth renovation projects, including log restoration and boathouse roof installation, building two dams and sidewalks, and completing the intricate restoration of the Barnwell Chapel windows.
Each year, Stewart will also be found on campus for Mountain Day. He arrives on Friday to lend a hand with booth set up, sign placement and any other chores that need doing to prepare for the event. Early Saturday morning, he will be behind the wheel of a truck hauling the alumni office's gear to mountain campus. He then spends the day helping with "anything else that is needed." He is two-term member of the Berry Alumni Council and served as that group's coordinator of Work Week.
Find out how to nominate a Berry alum for a Distinguished Alumni award here.