Myrtle Beach Chef Receives Jefferson Foundation Award
HGTC instructor Geoffrey Blount gets national recognition for Hurricane Florence relief efforts.
(Myrtle Beach, SC) Nov 1, 2018 - Chef Geoffrey Blount, an instructor at Horry Georgetown Technical College’s International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach (ICI), received a Jefferson Foundation Award on October 18, for his servant leadership during and after Hurricane Florence. The prestigious award celebrates individuals around the country who demonstrate exemplary public service and community impact.
Matt Barbour and a news crew from ABC15 News surprised Blount with the award as he was in the middle of midterm exams with his students.
“I was completely surprised,” Blount says. “I am extremely honored and humbled to receive this award.”
As Hurricane Florence made its way through South Carolina and it became clear that Horry County would feel its impact for weeks and months to come, Chef Blount organized a massive meal preparation and distribution effort. He reached out to culinary partners who provided donations in the form of food, manpower, or both. These partners included US Foods, DoubleTree Resort, A & A Produce, Joe Czpala, Girl Scout Troop 843, The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, Peace, Love & Little Donuts, Myrtle Beach General Aviation, Second Harvest Food Bank of Winston Salem, The Golden Egg, A Difference in Dining, ACF Myrtle Beach Chapter, ACF Caxambas Chapter of SW Florida, Lowes Foods #232, and many other restaurant professionals in the Myrtle Beach area.
Help even came from as far as New Orleans. Chef Amy Sins of Langlois restaurant, the Second Harvest Community Kitchen in New Orleans, and Wings of the Spirit prepared and transported over 1,200 pounds of food to Blount’s relief effort and relief efforts in New Bern, NC.
Over the course of 18 days, Chef Blount, community partners, his fellow chef instructors, and students from the culinary program prepared a total of 15,000 meals. The Salvation Army and National Guard distributed the meals to the most impacted communities, 12 in total, every day. Chef Blount even joined the distribution team at times.
“It was amazing to get to go to the front lines of this relief effort and thank and serve the men and women helping our community,” Blount said.
Chef Blount’s leadership in the relief effort also impacted his students and colleagues.
“It was fun getting to see that side of Chef Blount,” said Jill Dail, one of Chef Blount’s baking and pastry arts students. “We could tell he cared so much for his community and that he wanted to help as much as possible.”
Fellow student Liz Baker agreed.
“In my eyes, Chef Blount is a true humanitarian and inspiration,” she said. “He never turned down a call or request from someone in need.”
“All of us at ICI applaud Geoff and his extraordinary work organizing, and leading faculty, staff, students, and members of the community to provide wholesome and tasty meals for those effected by the flooding caused by hurricane Florence,” said ICI Executive Director Chef Joseph Bonaparte. “It is an honor to be recognized by the Jefferson Awards and Geoff is truly deserving of this recognition.”
About the Jefferson Awards Foundation
The Jefferson Awards Foundation (JAF) powers others to have maximum impact on the things they care about most. They are the largest multiplier of public service in America. Through celebration, they inspire action. With programs and partnerships, they drive Americans to change their communities and the world. They are celebrating 46 years of powering public service. To learn more about the Jefferson Awards Foundation, visit: JeffersonAwards.org or engage with their community on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook.