Dr. A. Barnett Scott Service Award
The 2011 Charity Gala was dedicated to long-time board member and past chairman of the board Dr. A. Barnett Scott. A native of Humboldt, Tennessee and a leader at Humboldt High School, he served as captain of both the football and basketball teams. Dr. Scott attended Memphis State College and earned his medical degree from the University of Tennessee. He married his high school sweetheart, May, and was blessed with three children. In 1959 he enlisted in the U. S. Navy where he served until 1970. He retired after 21 years of service and moved to Jackson to begin his private practice with Drs. George Dodson and Ed Crocker. This practice would later become Jackson Surgical Associates.The Foundation was blessed with an ideal board member in Dr. Scott, who was in his third term as a member of the board of directors at the time of his death in August 2011. His involvement as volunteer, donor, visionary and chairman helped move the Foundation to many records, including reaching $15 million in assets during his term as board chair from 2005 – 2007. In 2008, he was honored with a Jackson Award for Community Service.
The Dr. A. Barnett Scott Service Award was established to honor Dr. Scott after his death in August 2011. Foundation staff and board thought it fitting to honor his legacy by annually recognizing someone who selflessly served the Foundation and its programs. Each year, the Foundation staff selects a volunteer who has served the Foundation and the community in an altruistic way.
James and Kelly Christoferson
Dr. A. Barnett Scott Service Award
James and Kelly Christoferson are highly engaged within the Jackson community and currently serve on the leadership team for Arise2Read, a non-profit organization that promotes literacy in early elementary students. Before leading the organization, James and Kelly volunteered as reading coaches for Arise2Read and discovered their passion for literacy. For the past three years, James, the executive director, and Kelly, the coordinator, have enjoyed working together on the leadership team.
Since Arise2Read’s launch, 1,900 second graders improved their reading proficiency one to two grade levels. James and Kelly are constant advocates for literacy and understand the impact of Arise2Read in the community. With their support and direction, Arise2Read Jackson has grown to include six schools and 400 volunteers who are changing the lives of 430 students each year.
Beyond Arise2 Read, James and Kelly give back to the community through their involvement with other organizations and community projects. Before working with Arise2Read, they helped with Operation Hope and currently participate in Jackson-Madison County Parental Engagement opportunities. Both James and Kelly possess a leadership personality and use this to support a variety of organizations. James is the chair of Jackson Area Non-profit Network and an active member of Kiwanis Service Club. Kelly is a former director and speaker of AWANA.
James and Kelly have been married for 34 years. They have three daughters and two grandchildren. In their spare time, James and Kelly like to tandem bike, water-ski, and kiss their grandchildren’s chubby cheeks.
Dr. A. Barnett Scott Service Award
Lee Gaugh is highly involved within the Jackson community and currently serves as the Executive Director of Safe Harbor Day Mission, a faith-based organization that ministers to the needs of the poor and homeless. When he is not preaching or speaking at an event as an ordained minister, he often works at the Mission to help organize and distribute supplies to those who need them. Gaugh also teaches homeless clients practical skills necessary for employment such as carpentry. As a result of his leadership, Safe Harbor Day Mission currently serves an average of 500 people each week through providing food, clothing, education, and spiritual guidance. Gaugh is also a staff member at the Jackson-Madison County Library for building and security.As a continual advocate for the poor and homeless, Gaugh has also volunteered his time serving at other outreach organizations such as Regional Interfaith Association (RIFA), Area Relief Ministries (ARM), and the Appalachian Project. He also assisted with the relief efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In addition, Lee hosts a call-in radio program every Saturday called Word on the Street, a platform he uses to discuss topics of faith and broadcast live, gospel music. Along with organizing several gospel benefits and fundraising, Gaugh also serves as a member of Leaders Fellowship Church and the East Ruritan Club.
Gaugh graduated from the University of Memphis with a Bachelor in Liberal Studies. He formerly served as a staff member for Sprit Lake Recovery Center and a state board member for the Tennessee Association of Craft. Gaugh also participated in Boy Scouts of America, where he earned the Eagle Scout God and Country Award.
Gaugh is married to Diane, and they have one daughter, Dr. Tiffany Gaugh Simpson.
Juanita L. Jones
Dr. A. Barnett Scott Service Award
In 2009, Juanita Jones started Keep My Hood Good (KMHG) to serve the children of Jackson who are trapped in the cycle of generational poverty. What started as playing kickball in Lincoln Courts and Parkway East has turned into serving as many as 26 students from local schools each week. The program focuses on teaching students the principles of accountability, excellence, integrity, and respect for self and others. The class of 2017 KMHG Leaders had nine students who are attending college, enlisted in the Armed Forces, or employed at manufacturing companies.Juanita’s previous education and careers prepared her for her current role as founder and director of KMHG. She has served as a dispatcher/police officer, a U.S. Marine, and a firefighter. She graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a B.S. Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Health, Education, and Behavioral Studies. She relocated to Jackson in 2000. Juanita is also currently a CASA advocate, Meals on Wheels driver and deliverer, and a Tennessee Achieves Mentor.
She has been honored with the Diamond Award from the Jackson-Madison County African American Chamber of Commerce, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Loretta K. Jones Hall of Fame Award, Jo Helen Imani Beard Community Service Award from the Jackson Madison County NAACP, Youth Leader Award- Lane Chapter 16 RAM and Lane Chapter 24-KT, and the Dove Award.
In her free time, Juanita enjoys horseback riding, motorcycle riding, fishing, game hunting, gardening, and camping.
Dr. A. Barnett Scott Service Award Recipient
Julanne Stone is the founder and director of the Scarlet Rope Project in Jackson, Tennessee. The Scarlet Rope Project began as a fund of the Foundation in 2015. Its mission is to help women prevent and escape the bondage of sex trafficking and exploitation. It is their goal to love these women right where they are and to love them enough not to leave them there. They strive each day to help the ladies take their next step towards Jesus. The group chose the name of the fund based upon the story of Rahab in Joshua 2. The scarlet rope in the story is a reminder that despite our mess, God still wants to redeem us and use us for his Kingdom.When asked her how she became involved in the Scarlet Rope Project, Julanne humbly responds that it simply fell into her lap. She had been praying and seeking the Lord asking him to use her. Around that same time she started to take notice of the issue of sex trafficking. As she began to learn more about this epidemic, her heart ached for the victims. Julanne said, “I knew then this passion to help stirring inside of me was from the Lord, and my prayer had been answered. I have learned so much about myself, people, and God in the process of helping start this ministry. I am humbled to serve a God that uses us to be his hands and feet.”
Julanne is married to Will and has three kids. In her free time, Julanne enjoys running, camping, and cheering on her three kids at the football field, soccer field, and tennis court.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “There is no grief like the grief that does not speak.” Abby Lackey has taken a silent grief shared by so many families in our community and has spoken life into those affected by it. Abby advocates for bereaved families by breaking the silence surrounding miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. Her service to the Jackson community was branded when she lost her own infant son, Davis, in 2011. Soon after her heartbreaking tragedy, Abby began using her story to help others grieving perinatal loss.Abby, a Jackson native and daughter of Sheila and Bobby Arnold, graduated Middle Tennessee State University, and went on to receive her graduate degree from the University of South Florida. Since that time, she has held a variety of positions in communication—first as a business professional, now as a professor. Each of those roles prepared her to be the voice of a community grieving in silence.
Heaven’s Cradle, a fund of the Foundation, specializes in dealing with families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss. Sharing in the immediacy of the grief surrounding the loss of a child, Abby is able to mentor and assist mothers in making decisions about the time they will have with their child.
She and the Heaven’s Cradle team have raised thousands of dollars to support grieving parents and to equip health care professionals who work with pregnancy and infant loss. The group provides “Grace Bags” to each bereaved family as a means of memorializing their loved one. They also ensure that each family is able to manage their child’s remains in a meaningful way—without financial burden. Abby leads a local mothers group which offers a place, for those touched by the loss of a child, to openly share their feelings.
When she’s not teaching or volunteering with Heaven’s Cradle, Abby enjoys running, reading, traveling, and cooking—especially for her husband of ten years, Gary, and their three children: Sean (8), Lucy (6), and Noah (2).
Martha Jo Scott
Martha Jo Scott always had a servant’s heart, but a family tragedy compelled her to give back to others through ways she could never have imagined. Her granddaughter, Samantha Chyanne Scott, was born on November 27, 1999. At seven months, Chyanne was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1. Then shortly before her third birthday, Chyanne was diagnosed with brain cancer. She passed away on February 4, 2003. Although the family was devastated by the loss of Chyanne, they were overwhelmed at the support they had been given from the community throughout her short life.Martha felt bond to repay the kindness her family had received, and she wanted to keep Chyanne’s memory alive. With funds given from local churches, Elks Lodge 192 and other members of the community; Martha established the Chyanne Scott Fund through the Foundation.
She works with a variety of community groups to organize fundraisers to benefit the Chyanne Scott Fund. Once she discovers a family in need, she will do whatever it takes to assist them. She has helped dozens of families dealing with catastrophic childhood illnesses by offering funds to help with transportation, lodging or other expenses related to long hospital stays. She personally invests in each family she helps, getting to know them and their situation.
And when a family grieves the loss of a child, she understands their pain. She offers support during the darkest moments. Thus far, the fund has provided funds to bury eight children whose families could not afford to do so.
Because of the wonderful care Chyanne received from her doctors and nurses, Martha thought it was fitting to provide financial assistance for future nurses. Thus, the fund provides two nursing scholarships and one paramedic scholarship through Jackson State Community College each year. To date, the fund has contributed around $25,000 in scholarship assistance.
Through it all, Martha remains humble about all the good she has done through the Chyanne Scott Fund. She merely sees herself as a proud mother and grandmother, trying to repay the kindness she has been shown.
Michael Richerson’s compassion for those with special needs began early in life. As a child, his mother served as a teacher’s assistant in a special education classroom. Over the years, Michael noticed there were few recreational opportunities for this exceptional population, and he wanted to give them the chance to play sports without the fear of ridicule or steep disadvantages.In May 2009, at the age of 21, Michael began Special Needs Baseball. Now instead of sitting in the bleachers watching the action, they would be on the field in the middle of the action. The league was open to anyone four years or older, regardless of ability. Volunteers, coaches and teammates assisted each player in batting and fielding the ball allowing family and friends to be spectators in the stands. The program started with 40 players the first season, but word quickly spread about this new league. By the next year, it had more than tripled in size.
Because of great interest, Michael soon added additional sports and changed the name to Special Needs Athletics. The league now operates continuously throughout the year and offers baseball, bowling, basketball, soccer and miniature golf. Special Needs Athletics currently has 350 athletes ranging in age from four to 62 and has expanded to three locations – Jackson, Selmer and Woodrow, Arkansas. Michael’s goal is to build a synthetic turf field at the West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex to better serve the athletes.
As the founder and CEO of Special Needs Athletics, you might expect to find Michael spending most of his time behind a desk. However, you can find Michael; his wife Kristen; and often his parents, in the middle of the action, volunteering to help in whatever way needed.
We commend Michael Richerson for transforming this special population from spectators to star athletes.
Trish and Gary Stanfill
Trish and Gary Stanfill initially became involved with the Therapy & Learning Center’s hippotherapy program in 2005. Since that time, they provided for many of the program’s needs without being asked. The Stanfills worked to find new horses for the program as they were needed – always getting them donated so it would not take funds away from the program. The program has three horses, and the Stanfills feed, board and care for all them at no charge to the Center. In 2008, Gary decided to build an indoor riding arena which would allow the children to ride without worry of the elements – yet another improvement that did not cost the program a penny.Not only did the Stanfills provide for many of the program’s needs out of their own pocket, but they continually asked others to support the program as well. In fact, at Gary’s insistence, the program remained scholarship-based, meaning none of the families had to pay for the program (which would annually cost clients $2,000). When worries arose as to how the funds would be raised, Gary would insist God would provide for the kids, and he was never wrong.
Even as Gary battled cancer, he continued to put the focus on the program’s needs and ensuring it would continue. On Sunday, November 4, 2012, Gary lost his battle to cancer, but his loving legacy to the children served by the program will never be forgotten.
We were pleased to honor Trish and Gary Stanfill for their selfless service to others as the very first Dr. A. Barnett Scott Service Award recipients.