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About Heroes, Saints & Legends

Heroes, Saints & Legends honors extraordinary individuals who have shaped our community through a lifetime commitment to leadership, service and philanthropy. Funds raised through Heroes, Saints & Legends benefit the mission and ministry of Wesley Woods which includes financial assistance with meals and housing, wellness programming and pastoral care to the older adults living in Wesley Woods communities.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

John Wieland

Saint Sponsors

Veronica and Franklin Biggins

Friends of Governor Nathan and Sandra Deal

Hero Sponsors

A.G. Rhodes
AARP Georgia
Cox Enterprises, Inc.
Cindy and John Ethridge
Jenny and Phil Jacobs
Kaiser Permanente of Georgia
Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead
Cathy and Art Rollins
Paula and Glenn Wallace I SCAD
Donn Ann and Ken Weber

Dove Sponsors

Candler School of Theology
Cascade United Methodist Church
Ann and Mark Chandler
Dunwoody United Methodist Church
Beth and Tommy Holder
North Georgia Conference Board of Laity
Northside United Methodist Church

patron sponsors

Anonymous Donors
Cathie Berger
Pam and Denny Betz
Lisa and Tom Bever
Merritt Bond
Anne Boyd
Laura and Bob Currie
Ann and Jim Curry
Lillian and Buddy Darden
Diversified Search Group
Priscilla and Linton Hopkins
Sherry and Tom Jackson
Trina and Mike Johns, MD
Sarah and Chuck Jordan
Twinker and Keith Mason
Jan Love
Marsh USA, Inc.
Mauldin & Jenkins LLC

Lisa and Bill McGahan
Gwen and Peter Norton
Oglethorpe Power Corporation
Molly Perkins
Mary Jane and Hugh Peterson
Boyd Pettit
Vicki and Joe Riedel
Gail and John Singleton
Smith Gambrell Russell
Ginger and Louis Sullivan
Mary Carolyn and Ron Thigpen
University of Georgia
USI Insurance Services
Susan and Glenn Warren
Joyce Smith Wilson
The Woodruff Arts Center
Bob Yellowlees

Introducing Our 2023 Honorees

Veronica Biggins Color Headshot - MKP09528-Edit

J. Veronica Biggins




Honoree Highlights

J. Veronica Biggins

Veronica Biggins serves as Managing Partner of Diversified Search Group’s Atlanta office and Leader of the Firm’s Board of Directors Practice. Her corporate experience includes two decades at The Citizens and Southern National Bank (now Bank of America). Her 20-year career culminated as one of the highest-ranking women in the banking industry.

Biggins is renowned for her life-long commitment to service. She was selected as Assistant to the President of the United States and Director of Presidential Personnel under President William Jefferson Clinton. Passionate about women’s issues and social justice for all, Biggins served as Vice Chair of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and chaired the Czech Slovak American Enterprise Fund for ten years. Biggins received a Points of Light award from President George H. W. Bush for her leadership.

Biggins is renowned for decades of board leadership across multiple industries and within the Atlanta community. She is recognized by the Board of Directors Network for her advocacy of women on corporate boards and is named one of the Top 100 U.S. Directors by the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Biggins chairs the Savannah College of Art & Design Board of Trustees, is a member of the John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation Board of Directors, Woodruff Arts Center Foundation Board of Trustees, Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees, Metro Atlanta Chamber Board of Directors, Carter Center Board of Councilors and the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, Inc. Executive Advisory Board.

Biggins’ previous board service includes more than 15 boards, including the CDC Foundation Board of Directors, Spelman College Board of Trustees and Zoo Atlanta.

Biggins is an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard and earned her MEd from Georgia State University and B.A. from Spelman College. She is married to her husband of 50 years, Franklin Biggins, an Atlanta attorney and former judge, and they have two daughters.

Sandra Deal

First Lady Sandra Deal traveled the State of Georgia as an educator, author, historian, volunteer, and forever learner. As Georgia’s First Lady, Mrs. Deal promoted community service, volunteerism, and literacy initiatives alongside her husband of 56 years, Gov. Nathan Deal.

As a passionate advocate for literacy and student achievement, Mrs. Deal read to students in all of Georgia’s 159 counties and 181 school districts, resulting in more than 1000 school visits. Mrs. Deal launched “Read Across Georgia” during the month of March and led the Get Georgia Reading Campaign.  Mrs. Deal believed that all of Georgia’s students should be reading on grade-level by the end of the third grade.

Mrs. Deal served as a chairwoman of the Georgia Children’s Cabinet, which brought together community leaders, philanthropists, educators, and business stakeholders to best utilize resources and improve outcomes for children and families. The Cabinet worked to improve Georgia’s juvenile justice system and provide immunization cards for young children. Mrs. Deal also served as co-chair of the Georgia Literacy Commission which worked to improve multigenerational low literacy rates.

Mrs. Deal also chaired the Georgia Older Adults Cabinet, which focused on policy matters related to aging and bringing awareness to the welfare of older Georgians. To encourage volunteerism and promote community service, Mrs. Deal launched a statewide campaign called “With a Servant’s Heart” in 2011.

Mrs. Deal also served on the board of trustees for Georgia College, her alma mater and Piedmont University. In 2015, Mrs. Deal co-authored a book, “Memories of the Mansion” which covered the rich history of the Governor’s Mansion and experiences of Georgia’s first families.

Mrs. Deal was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in 2018 after a routine mammogram and went public with her diagnosis to encourage women to get mammograms. She continued her duties as First Lady and fully engaged in life until her cancer spread and she passed away on August 23, 2022, at her home in the northeast Georgia town of Demorest, surrounded by family.

Governor Nathan Deal

Governor Nathan Deal is a Sandersville native who joined the United States Army and earned the rank of Captain following his graduation from Mercer University with a law degree.  He then began a private law practice in Gainesville, the hometown of his wife, Sandra Deal. While his wife taught in Hall County public schools, he began a career in public service, working as a prosecutor, judge, state senator and U.S. congressman for Georgia’s 9th District.

Gov. Deal spent 23 years in private law practice.  He was inducted as assistant district attorney in 1970 in Northeast Georgia followed by a judicial appointment as a juvenile court judge in Hall County the following year, a position he served till 1972.

He first served as Member of the Georgia Senate from the 49th district from 1981 to 1993. He became a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives in January 1993, a tenure that spanned 17 years, during which time he rose to chair the Health Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce.

Deal became the 82nd governor of Georgia in 2011 and served two terms. As governor, he led Georgia to become the No. 1 state in the nation for business for six consecutive years — a first in Georgia history — and helped create more than 800,000 private sector jobs. During his tenure, Georgia’s job growth outpaced the national average, while its population jumped from 10th to 8th nationally. Deal was successful reforming several issues but the overhaul of Georgia’s Criminal Justice system one of the most significant and became a model other states followed as well as the federal government.

Through meaningful tax reform, workforce development initiatives for those with all manner of capabilities, and investment in education and infrastructure, the state continues to grow local small businesses and attract top companies from around the world.

Governor Deal and First Lady, Sandra Deal, moved back home to North Georgia in 2019 when he left office to enjoy the beauty of our state’s natural and more rural areas. Former Governor Deal spends the majority of his time with their four adult children and six grandchildren and writing.

Prior Honorees

Billye S. Aaron
Dr. Judy Greer
Virginia Hepner

Dr. H. Allen Ecker
Phil Jacobs
Bishop Woodie W. White

Dr. Carolyn and Coach Bill Curry
Cecilia and David Ratcliffe

J. Neal Purcell
Ray M. Robinson
Lyn and Bob Turknett

Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery & Dr. Evelyn Gibson Lowery
Edward J. "Jack" Hardin
Merritt Steed Bond

Bishop John & Dr. Dolly Adams
Ann Q. Curry
Hank M. Huckaby

Dr. J. David Allen
Lillian Budd Darden
Egbert L.J. Perry

Dr. Monica Parker
Bill Bolling
Shirley Franklin

Rev. Dr. Don Harp
Dr. Linton Hopkins
Ingrid Saunders Jones
Lonnie Ali

Vince Dooley
Monica Pearson
Dr. Allan Levey

S. Truett Cathy
Ann Cramer
Carl Ware
W.N. “Bill” Wilkins

Pat Epps
Sam Massell
Frank Broyles

Paul S. Amos
Dr. Mahlon DeLong
Andrew Young

Azira Hill
Jesse Hill
Lou Brown Jewell
Ferrol A. Sams

Walter E. Massey
Colleen O’Brien Nunn
B. Franklin Skinner

W. Lee Burge
Harold A. Dawson, Sr.
Alana Smith Shepherd

Dorothy H. Addison
Gay McLawhorn Love
Marvin H. Shoob
Elizabeth Wilson

Henry L. Aaron
J. Willis Hurst, M.D.
Dr. Berta R. Laney
Dr. James T. Laney

Mary Duckworth Gellerstedt
Clyde Rodbell
Felker W. Ward, Jr.

John E. Aderhold
Jeanne Rolfe Ferst
Horace T. Ward

N. Bond Fleming
Dorothy C. Fuqua
J.B. Fuqua
Louis W. Sullivan

Rosalynn S. Carter
Homer C. Rice
Herman J. Russell

L. Scott Allen
Leila D. Denmark
Thomas B. Murphy

Ivan Allen, Jr.
Louise Richardson Allen
Elliott Goldstein

Rawson Haverty
Louise McBee
Randolph W. Thrower

Beatrice H. Hass
Franklin M. Garrett
Virlyn B. Moore, Jr.

Elliott Galloway
Daniel H. Magill, Jr.
LeRoy T. Walker
Charles R. Yates

Donald L. Hollowell
Elmo I. Ellis
Frances F. Pauley

William R. Cannon
Rebecca Y. Frazer
Manning M. Pattillo, Jr.

Albert J. Bows
Celestine Sibley
Boisfeuillet Jones

Martha H. Ellis
Candler Budd
A.B. Padgett
George B. Hightower

Henry L. Bowden, Sr.
D.W. Brooks
Selma T. Richardson

Eleanor L. Richardson
Constantin Chatov
Dean Rusk
Elbert P. Tuttle