01/14/09 — Servant leader: Cornerstone honoree lives principles he learned at home

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Servant leader: Cornerstone honoree lives principles he learned at home

When you are looking through the newspaper for names and faces of movers and shakers, it isn't often that you see Mt. Olive Pickle President Bill Bryan.

In fact, there are many people who say he would much prefer to be behind the scenes getting things done than accepting any sort of honor for doing them.

And that was certainly true Tuesday night as the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce honored him as the 2009 Cornerstone Award winner.

Bryan's first words were for the parents who raised him, the family who now supports him and the co-workers who keep his company going so he can pursue his community service work.

In fact, he almost missed the banquet -- preferring a quiet night at home -- but attended thinking he was supporting his friend.

That is just his way.

The long list recounting Bryan's community service, volunteer posts as well as business successes did not seem to do justice to the one aspect of his life that remains key to his past, present and future.

And that is his family.

In addition to running a successful company, donating his time to community causes and serving on more than a dozen boards and committees, Bill Bryan is first and foremost a son, a husband and a father.

His friends recounted how every business trip begins with plans to return home as early as possible.

The pictures that accompanied the recitation of his life and career were simple -- a dad with his sons. Nothing fancy. Just the boys.

There are photos from his job, too, a man who can talk to a cucumber farmer just as easily as he can another chief executive officer -- and one who is not afraid to don a hairnet and to pack pickles to raise money to battle heart disease.

A simple man who has achieved a lot, but who never forgets what really matters -- that is Bill Bryan's trademark and what makes him a perfect choice to join the ranks of the past Cornerstone honorees he referenced -- respectfully -- Tuesday night.

The Cornerstone Award honors those whose contributions to their community will forever leave a mark.

Bill Bryan's mark will be a quiet one of service without fanfare, contribution without hoopla.

But his leadership is just beginning.

There is more to come from this honoree.

Just don't expect him to point it out.

Published in Editorials on January 14, 2009 11:08 AM