The UNITY Award was established in 1999 by Rev. Carl A. Moore, Sr., pastor of Woodstock’s Allen Temple AME Church, to recognize the contributions of an individual who has made a positive impact on the community by fostering harmonious racial and cultural relations. Each year, the award is presented during Allen Temple AME Church’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Breakfast, held on Jan. 14.
To be eligible for the UNITY Award, the nominee must be a resident of Cherokee County, OR someone who has contributed to Cherokee County by engaging in activities that foster racial and cultural unity on a local, regional or national level.
Tony Harrison, born into a military family in Fort Monmouth, N.J., has lived across the U.S. and abroad. Tony and wife Kelly have been married for 25 years, and have a daughter Morgan, 19, and son Tony, 17; they’ve lived in Canton for 16 years. Tony has more than 30 years of civic and community volunteerism, and continues this tradition in Cherokee County.
Tony earned a bachelor of science degree from Florida A&M University, and has attended several executive courses from Harvard University. In 1986, Tony began a 17-year career in sales management at Procter & Gamble. He left to follow his entrepreneurial spirit and became president and CEO of Tohar Industries, Inc. (2004–2007), then president and CEO of Bonus Building Care (2007–2012). After selling Bonus Building Care in 2012, Tony was a consultant to other entrepreneurs. In 2014, Tony became one of the first five franchisees of Cousins Maine Lobster. He launched his first truck in 2015 and was voted No. 1 food truck in Atlanta. He now has two trucks and in 2016 was again voted No. 1 food truck. Tony has his eye on opening the first Cousins Maine Lobster restaurant in metro Atlanta later this year.
Continuing in his commitment to service, Tony has been a perennial major sponsor and participant in the Allen Temple Annual Golf Scholarship Event. He is involved in recreational, community and civic causes. He serves on the board of directors for the Cherokee County (Malon D. Mims) Boys & Girls Club and was board president from 2011 to 2014. As an executive board member, Tony has been involved in all aspects of the club and has personally raised more than $200,000 in his tenure on the board.
Tony’s devotion to the development of youth is evident. He has been a judge and mentor for the Youth of the Year program. With 20 years’ experience as CEO of The Myrtle Beach Winter Golf Invitational (the largest African American event of its kind), he chaired the BGC golf tournament committee for five years (which raises more than $50,000 annually). He serves the kids and their families dinner every year at the annual Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations while encouraging the youth to apply for scholarships to further their education. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors for the Food Truck Association of Georgia and Ride to the Olympics Foundation, and is past board president of Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Davidson, N.C., past president of the U.S. African American Golf Association, served on the advisory board of Sinergy Elastomers, Inc., is a youth sports coach and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, Kids Bible Clubs, MUST Ministries, and several other community organizations.
Tony’s favorite quote: “A negative mind will never give you a positive life.”