Bob Gault, public information officer for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, has been named recipient of the Cleveland Media Association’s 2011 Excellence in Communications Award.
The announcement and presentation came Friday during the organization’s annual Christmas luncheon at the Tom Wheeler Training Center at Cleveland Utilities.
The recognition is the “most prestigious award” given each year by CMA, according to Allen Mincey, vice president of communications at United Way of Bradley County, and 2010 award recipient. Mincey made the presentation.
The CMA award has been given since 2002 to a local communicator whose standards depict leadership, integrity and accomplishment for the year.
Recipients, who are nominated for the prestigious award, are not required to be CMA members.
“I was completely surprised,” Gault said. “I am honored tremendously.”
The day after the late-April tornadoes, Gault remembered, he and a group of local organizations including the two area mayors, Cleveland Utilities, FEMA and Bradley County assistant to the mayor Dan Howell, held their first press conference to update area residents of the storms’ impact.
“Bradley County had never seen anything like this before,” Gault said.
The press conference served as the first confirmation the tornadoes had taken nine lives in Bradley County. To this day, Gault and others involved in the recovery now wear a pin with the No. 9 on it to commemorate the lives lost in the devastating storms.
Gault has lived in Cleveland most of his life, graduated from Cleveland High School and also attended Cleveland State Community College. He started off his communications career as the night deejay in 1971 at WBAC and became the station’s manager three years later, became the news director of six stations in 2004, working in radio for a total of more than 30 years.
Gault is a member of the North Cleveland Church of God, and is on the board of directors of the Hiwasse Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Law Enforcement Committee of the Chamber, and the board of directors of the Cleveland Humane Education Association. He also serves on the city of Cleveland’s Johnston Park Advisory Committee and is a member of the National Information Officers Association.
He is married to Judy Gault, a second-grade teacher at Yates Primary School. The couple has two grown sons, Jeremy and Jonathan.
Gault helped found the CMA in the late 1990s. At the CMA, he served as vice president, president-elect and president of the organization.
“Bob helped get our association started and today we have members from all segments of communications within our community involved,” said Nancy Neal, vice president of communications for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce who nominated Gault for the award.
“I am pleased to be able to nominate Bob for this award and feel it is long overdue. Congratulations, Bob.”
Gault joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2004 when he was hired by former Bradley County Sheriff Dan Gilley to fill the newly created public relations role, and has served in this capacity since.
Over the years, Gault has worked closely with the American Red Cross, the Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Bradley County and various law enforcement organizations.
Since the late-April tornadoes, Gault has worked closely with fellow CMA member Howell, the Bradley County Emergency Management Agency and others to disseminate storm-recovery information, Mincey said.
In other business at the CMA luncheon:
— The Cleveland Media Association invites all communications professionals interested to attend its annual open house at no cost. The meeting will offer a variety of soups and chili made by members and will be held starting at 11:25 a.m. at the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012. At the January meeting, the coming year’s board members will also be installed. The organization usually meets the rest of the year at the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library on the first Friday of every month, except July, when no meeting is held.
— The local Chamber of Commerce has just earned a 4-Star accreditation. There are 6,900 Chambers across the U.S., Neal explained. Less than 300 have achieved accreditation.
— Cleveland Utilities has achieved 4 million safe work hours.