Chart Riggall, Marietta Daily Journal, Ga. Sat, January 28, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST 3 min read Jan. 28—CUMBERLAND — Dwight "Ike" Reighard, CEO of MUST Ministries, has been named the Cobb County Citizen of the Year. Reighard received the award, presented by the Marietta Daily Journal, at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner celebration Saturday evening at the Cobb Galleria Centre. "I mean, I am so shocked," Reighard, who did the invocation for the dinner, said upon accepting the award.

Following in the footsteps of past honorees, Reighard was recognized for his leadership of a ministry which provides services to some 60,000 people a year struggling in poverty. He became head of MUST Ministries in 2011. Marietta Daily Journal Publisher Otis Brumby III said in his presentation of the award that Reighard "is truly the epitome of a servant leader.

"He makes Cobb County a better place to live, work and play by serving others with everything that he does," Brumby said. During his tenure, the Marietta-based charity launched its mobile pantry, which served 17,000 families in its first year, and the MUST Hope House shelter in Marietta. The 43,000-square-foot facility opened last year and features 136 beds and 36 respite beds used during inclement weather, a chapel, a rooftop retreat for families and a large dining hall. In his remarks, Reighard recounted how hungry hobos from the nearby Inman railway yard in Atlanta would stray into his childhood backyard seeking a handout. His mother never gave money — his family was not well-off financially, Reighard said — but would offer food and ice tea in mason jars to those who drifted onto their property. Word of the Reighards' generosity spread through the hobo village alongside the railroad tracks. Visits became more frequent.

Neighbors grew upset, telling Reighard's mother she was going to be hurt or get someone else hurt. Her reply was that these men were somebody's son, father or brother and that if her son, father or brother were in trouble, she would hope someone would help them. As a child of the Great Depression, he said his mother never forgot how quickly one's fortunes can change. "Cobb is forever changed by having Ike Reighard as a member of our community. He has given back in more ways than one," said Ellen Hill, a Cobb real estate agent and member of MUST's Board of Directors. "He is such a huge innovator, and a huge supporter wherever he goes of all people. He's just been revolutionary in what he's done at MUST, and what that's allowed the people of our community to experience."

Reighard has served as the senior minister of Piedmont Church in Marietta since 2007. Previously, he was the founding pastor of NorthStar Church and the lead pastor of the Kennesaw campus of First Baptist Church of Atlanta and New Hope Baptist Church. He also has had success in the corporate world serving in various positions at HomeBanc Mortgage Corp including executive vice president. He has authored four books and is co-author of the devotional, "Daily Insights."

Reighard was named the Marietta Citizen of the Year in December, and was praised by Mayor Steve "Thunder" Tumlin for his compassion and faith. Tumlin cited the famous New Testament verse, Matthew 25:35 — "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in," — to describe Reighard's service to the community. Reighard and his wife, Robin, have two daughters, Danielle and Abigail, and two granddaughters, Addison Ruth and KB. The Marietta Daily Journal has presented the Cobb Citizen of the Year award each year since 1963. Past recipients have included former U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, former Gov. Roy Barnes and former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harris Hines.