Mayor Kasim Reed expressed his gratitude during the meeting to the coalition, a chamber-like group of 100 CEOs, and to President Sam Massell for his support.
“One of the real joys in my life since I’ve had the pleasure of being mayor really is being able to get to know and call upon Mayor Sam Massell, the 53rd mayor of the city of Atlanta,” Reed said. “The 25th anniversary of the Buckhead Coalition is to acknowledge how much you contribute and how happy I am ya’ll have continued to stay engaged. You are a fundamental part of the fabric of this city.”
He said he does not want “one second of one minute of one day” when the Buckhead community and the coalition feels taken for granted.
“You’re essential to the tapestry that is the city of Atlanta,” he said.
Actor and comedian Jeff Foxworthy delivered the keynote speech, chock full of jokes to send the crowd into hysterics.
“I have hosted 12 awards shows. … I have never been this intimidated,” Foxworthy said. “I said [to my wife], ‘I’m the keynote speaker at the Buckhead Coalition.’ She started laughing and said, ‘Why?’”
The Alpharetta resident said he grew up in Hapeville, south of Atlanta, and never imagined delivering the keynote address to the coalition.
“We had to stop at I-20 to get a half-day pass just to come up here,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about Buckhead.”
Foxworthy went through a series of achievements the coalition has made over the quarter of a century, and compared them to that of the fictitious Hapeville Coalition.
“I read the Buckhead Coalition had commissioned a new community flag: a bright green banner with an impressionistic buck’s head and dogwood blossoms, made to foster community pride,” he said. “The Hapeville Coalition, taking the lead from Buckhead, … commissioned a community flag that featured a gas can and some jumper cables surrounded by a laurel of kudzu.”
He said his mailbox growing up said, “male,” as a joke his uncle made which no one understood.
“By the time I was in the 11th grade I was like, ‘That ain’t right. That ‘m’ is supposed to be capitalized.’”
In all seriousness, Foxworthy said he was honored to be invited to speak and hopes to come for the 50th anniversary.
“I have loved this city my whole life. I have built an affection for others who love this city,” he said. “I believe you have a huge responsibility to God, to your wife or husband and children, but you also have a responsibility to your community. … I tell my kids all the time the most fulfilled people are not self-focused people.”