The Jackson Awards
The Jackson Awards were established by the Foundation in 2006 as a means to honor those in our community who exemplify the truest qualities of a leader. The awards are named for President Andrew Jackson, our city’s namesake, and are presented to individuals who have served as leaders in one of the following areas:
- The Arts
- Community Service
- Health Care
- Volunteer Service
The awards are bestowed annually at the Foundation’s Charity Gala held each November. This year’s event will be Saturday, November 9, 2019.
Tommy Rhoads has been an integral part of the arts community in Jackson for decades. After retiring from the Jackson Fire Department with 30 years in the fire service, he pursued his “second act” and became a strong advocate for arts in the area. Rhoads continually strives for the betterment of arts organizations and artists through his involvement with the Jackson Theatre Guild, Jackson Arts Council, and the Jackson Symphony.
Through his passion for the arts, Rhoads spreads his kindness, patience, and persistence to benefit the community. Rhoads has served in management positions with the Jackson Arts Council twice and previously served as the Finance Manager for the Jackson Symphony. In his current role as the Office Manager of the Jackson Arts Council, he is the initial contact with organizations and individuals that need assistance or information about the arts. Rhoads works tirelessly to ensure the arts community has the support and resources necessary to succeed. He freely offers individualized assistance and group communications to enrich the arts.
A true Renaissance man, Rhoads has been actively involved with productions of the Jackson Theatre Guild by acting, playing in pit orchestras, and producing plays. He studied painting, pottery, printmaking, and stained glass. Utilizing these experiences, he understands the arts and advocates keeping the arts a priority for the area.
Aside from his work with the Jackson Arts Council and various initiatives to support the arts, Rhoads serves as an ordained Deacon for St. Luke Episcopal Church in Humboldt. He is married to Roxane. They have one son, Quincy, and daughter-in-law, Emily. They have two grandchildren, Judah and Hadley.
Bob and Donna Frankland
Bob and Donna Frankland have a rich history in the Jackson community, starting with Bob’s great grandfather and the beginning of Frankland Carriage Company in 1901. Since its establishment, Bob has expanded the family business and added other businesses under the Frankland Carriage Co., Inc. umbrella. He also branched into new ventures with the opening of The Barrel Wine & Spirits Co. and The Cracker Barrel Delicatessen. Donna was introduced to Jackson when she married Bob in 1988. She is an architectural designer with Bryant Glasgow Architecture.
Along with their economic support of Jackson, Bob and Donna continuously give back to the community through their service and volunteer on a variety of committees and boards. Bob is on the board of the Jackson Madison County Airport Authority and a member of Jackson Rotary. Previously, he served as the Chairman of the Crime Stoppers board, Jackson Downtown Merchant Association, and Jackson Liquor Retailer’s Association. He has been a member of the Boy Scouts board, on the Board of Directors for the Jackson YMCA, and served as President of the Jackson Downtown Council.
Donna is on the Kirkland Cancer Center board, the Foundation board, the Downtown Dogs Group board, and West Tennessee Artisan Trail board. She is a past board member of the Jackson Downtown Development Corporation and the Jackson YMCA board. Bob and Donna constantly demonstrate their community service through their contributions to non-profits and organizations throughout Jackson with their leadership, knowledge, and creativity.
Throughout their business within the Jackson community, Bob and Donna have participated and contributed to a variety of fundraisers, auctions, and events. They generously sponsor the Foundation’s annual Charity Gala each year. Other auctions and events they currently support are the Star Center, the Exchange Club Carl Perkins Center Blue Suede Dinner and Auction, the Jackson-Madison County Humane Society, Downtown Dog Group, the Jackson Symphony, Scarlet Rope Project, Jackson Chapter of the Heart Association, and the West Tennessee Artisan Trail.
Aside from their community service, Bob and Donna enjoy a variety of hobbies. Bob pilots his own plane, and they both love to travel. The two of them have active lifestyles- Bob is a tri-athlete, and Donna is a marathon runner, artist, and gardener.
Dr. Eric Jones
Serving in education for a total of 17 years with eleven years in Jackson-Madison County schools, Dr. Eric Jones is a pillar for academic success in the community. Dr. Jones demonstrated superior leadership in his overall plans and initiatives for the Jackson-Madison County School System in his most recent role as superintendent. While effortlessly working to ensure students and their needs were put first in all of his plans, Dr. Jones impacted countless students’ lives through his academic service. His innovation was reflected in his initiatives to offer students dual enrollment opportunities to earn college credit in high school. As acknowledgement for his leadership and impact in education, Dr. Jones was named Educator of the Year 2017 and 2018. He currently works for the National Center on Education and Economy based out of Washington D.C.
Recognized as Outstanding Community Leader in Education for 2019, Dr. Jones is a strong advocate for academia, students, and the community. With his knowledge and education experience, Dr. Jones has been featured in a variety of publications of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Scholastic Magazine for Educational Leadership. He was also a featured presenter with the Southern Regional Education Board and Council of Chief State School Officers.
As a current resident of Jackson, Dr. Jones is involved in various community service efforts. He is a member of Rotary Club and serves as a board member for RIFA and United Way. In 2012, he was awarded the Service to Community Award by the Freed Hardeman University Alumni Association followed by the Citizen of the Year award in 2018 for his excellence in education and community service. Dr. Jones has a strong passion for the success of all students and currently mentors underprivileged youth in his free time.
Dr. Jones has been married to Megan for over 10 years. They have two children, Riley and Peyton. In addition to his enthusiasm and support for education in the community, Dr. Jones enjoys fishing, basketball, football, reading, and traveling.
Dr. Clyde Smith
As an advocate for hospice care in West Tennessee, Dr. Clyde Smith is an outstanding example of the importance of leadership and kindness in healthcare. After graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in 1974, Dr. Smith completed his residency with the University of Tennessee Medical School and Associated Hospitals in Memphis. He then became the Medical Director of Hospice in West Tennessee in 1987. Through his exceptional leadership in medicine, Dr. Smith has laid the ground work for how the community delivers hospice care and was fundamental in the development of the Palliative Care program at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.
Through his various leadership positions with West Tennessee Healthcare, Dr. Smith has inspired others to excellence based on his guidance. His kindness and knowledge have made a lasting impact on the community. Dr. Smith’s continuous efforts have helped to create the high quality hospice program that exists today. He was previously named Doctor of the Year and served as president of the Tennessee Oncology Professional Society from 2013 to 2014.
Dr. Smith’s passion for hospice care continues as he currently serves on the Hospice House committee and voluntarily mentors for hospice and palliative care each week. In addition to his efforts to improve healthcare in West Tennessee, Dr. Smith shared his medical expertise through medical missionary trips to Nicaragua.
Dr. Smith and his wife, Jean, have been married for 43 years. They have four sons, three of whom are also physicians.
As President and CEO of Leaders Credit Union, Todd Swims demonstrates his love for Jackson and West Tennessee each day through his exceptional leadership and support of countless non-profit organizations. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a major in marketing from the University of Tennessee and graduating from Southeastern Regional Credit Union School from the University of Georgia, Todd moved to Jackson and joined Leaders. After two years, he was promoted to President and CEO. Over the past 30 years under Todd’s leadership, Leaders has experienced tremendous growth and expanded to eight retail branches, a mortgage center, corporate offices, and a digital and call operation center, providing service throughout West Tennessee and across the region. He has also led the organization in its development of brand and corporate culture.
Throughout his leadership and career with Leaders, Todd has made a huge impact in the community from the growth of Leaders to their constant support for non-profit organizations. Beyond the credit union, Todd has and continues to tirelessly give back to the community where he lives and works. He serves non-profit and civic organizations with his time, talents, and resources. Currently, Todd is serving as a board member for the Jackson Symphony Association, Boys and Girls Club of Jackson and Brownsville, Jackson Rotary Club, the Star Center, the Jackson Chamber, and Jackson Arts Council.
Todd is also passionate about not-for-profit cooperative banking and has served in various leadership capacities promoting and enhancing credit unions in Tennessee. He has served professionally as a director and chairman of the board with the Tennessee Credit Union League and has been a member of the Tennessee Department of Banking Commissioner’s Task Force for the past 15 years.
Todd is married to Missy. They have a son, Dr. Weston Swims and his wife Kaleigh, and a daughter, Sydney Swims. Todd enjoys spending time with his family, actively participating in his church, and supporting the community in any way possible.
Jane Alderson is an outstanding member of the Jackson community and has volunteered her service to countless organizations. Jane was born and raised in Jackson and obtained a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English from Union University. After graduation, she worked as a teacher for the next seven years. Jane moved back to Jackson in 1973 with her husband Robert Alderson and has been involved in a number of community and charitable activities over the past 46 years.
As a 13-year member of the Community Economic Development Commission, Jane has been involved in the allocation of community grant and investment funds in support of West Tennessee and Madison County economic development and tourism. She has also served on the Foundation Board for eight years. In 2001, Jane became involved with the Miss America Organization. As the volunteer, full-time Executive Director for the past 12 years, Jane annually prepared each Miss Tennessee for the Miss America Pageant successfully and worked full-time to coordinate and plan her travel across the state as the governor’s spokesperson. When the Miss Tennessee leadership split from the Miss America Organization in 2018, Jane and other members of the leadership team founded the non-profit organization Miss Tennessee Volunteer Scholarship Organization. She continues to serve as Co-Executive Director, and the new organization raised over $125,000 in scholarships for women – the most in Tennessee history.
As a graduate of Union University and a member of Chi Omega Sorority, Jane has remained very supportive of her college fraternity and its philanthropic efforts. For over 40 years, Jane has served in the Chi Omega Alumnae Association, and she was Chapter Advisor for Upsilon Chapter at Union University for 17 years. She has continued her relationship and service to Union University by serving on its Board of Trustees for 23 years, as well as being a member of a variety of other boards and organizations with Union University.
Jane was married to the late Robert Alderson for 47 years. They have two accomplished daughters Amy and Allison. She has three grandchildren, Ava, Madeline, and Dylan. Jane is a member of First Baptist Church in Jackson.
Tammy Buchanan has served in various roles over the past 25 years as a Jackson citizen and community philanthropist to promote education, arts, literacy, and preservation for the betterment of the community. She has served alongside numerous organizations such as the Jackson Symphony League, Leadership Jackson, Keep Jackson Beautiful, and the Philanthropic Education Organization (PEO). As an advocate for racial and cultural diversity, Buchanan was also the founding organizer for the Jackson International Food and Art Festival.
Buchanan continually nurtures a spirit of hospitality for Jackson residents and visitors. She was heavily involved in the development of the Doris “Cousin Tuny” Freeman Garden of Peace, which continues to serve as a public memorial for families with special needs children. As a visionary, she designed Gabriel’s Garden to become a shared playground and safe haven for children of all abilities. Buchanan has also consistently served the women and children at the Care Center in Jackson by providing various resources needed for their healing and restoration.
In addition, Buchanan’s philanthropic endeavors include creating natural spaces that seek to memorialize the lives of others such as the Liberty Garden Park & Arboretum, a living memorial of September 11th, and the Veterans Memorial Freedom Plaza. She helped develop the Chevy Chase Arboretum at First Presbyterian Church of Jackson in order to preserve and share the history of the Jackson Memorial Carillon and Landscape. Her work with these arboretums also helped more than 12 Boy Scout members achieve the merit of Eagle Scout.
Buchanan currently serves as an elder at First Presbyterian Church and the Liaison for the City of Jackson. She is also the Director for the West Tennessee Farmers Market/AMP. In addition, Buchanan serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Stone Arch Ventures, L.L.C., a land development and general contractor company. She is married to The Honorable J. Blake Anderson.
Dr. Allana Hamilton
As an advocate for academic success, Dr. Allana “Lana” Hamilton has worked effortlessly to ensure that students within West Tennessee have access to quality, post-secondary education. A native of East Tennessee, Dr. Hamilton earned her bachelor’s degree at Tusculum College and later received a master’s degree in biology science and a doctorate in education at East Tennessee State University. She moved to Jackson in 2017 to begin her tenure as Jackson State Community College’s fifth president and has already taken considerable steps toward improving higher education at both the local and state level.
Since being appointed president of JSCC, Dr. Hamilton has collaborated with various four-year higher education institutions by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) to help ensure that JSCC graduates continue their education and career goals. These MOUs have also contributed to the community’s academic success by allowing students to stay closer to home. In addition, Dr. Hamilton participated in the 40-hour, TNTrained program, a course that equipped each program graduate with the knowledge and resources necessary to collaboratively recruit jobs to the state. Under her leadership, JSCC also dedicated the Jim and Janet Ayers Center for Health Sciences in celebration of the campus’ 50th anniversary.
Even before relocating to Jackson, Dr. Hamilton was an avid supporter of education. She began teaching in 1991 as an adjunct professor at Northeast State Community College and eventually moved up the ranks to become the college’s Vice President for Academic Affairs. She also volunteered as an instructor for the American Red Cross and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency between 1998-2004. As a current resident of Jackson, Dr. Hamilton is heavily involved within the community and serves in leadership positions for the Jackson Chamber Board of Directors, the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center, and the West Tennessee Workforce Development Board.
Though Dr. Hamilton has dedicated her life to teaching others, she is also a committed, life-long learner who enjoys camping and visiting state and national parks.
Dr. David Roberts
For the past 42 years, Dr. David Roberts’ medical expertise and leadership have continued to impact those within West Tennessee and beyond. He completed his internship and residency in Family Medicine at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital and is board certified in both geriatrics and family medicine. Since then, Dr. Roberts has served in numerous leadership positions related to healthcare, promoting family health and physical well-being.
Dr. Roberts served as the University of Tennessee Program Director for the JMCGH Family Medicine Residency program from 1996 to 2005. He also served as a tenured Associate Professor of Family Medicine and was the Ballard-McCallum Endowed Chair in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Tennessee for 15 years. Dr. Roberts is a member of several healthcare societies including the Tennessee Medical Association, the American and Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians, and the Tennessee Hospital Association. Because of his influential role in the medical profession, he was awarded the Patient Safety Leadership Award and Family Doctor of the Year by Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians in 2018.
Along with serving as a family physician and geriatrician, Dr. Roberts proactively engages the community at various colleges and hospitals to discuss topics related to disease management, patient safety, and geriatric medicine. His recent passion is educating medical providers about the opioid epidemic and how changes in local practices among healthcare providers can improve quality of care and build safer communities.
Dr. Roberts currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer and Vice President at West Tennessee Healthcare in Jackson.
Born and raised in Jackson, Gerald “Buster” Ferguson Jr. has continually provided consistent and compassionate leadership as both a business and community leader. After graduating from the University of Tennessee Knoxville with a B.S. in Business Administration, Ferguson started working with Murray Guard, Inc. in 1977 as Financial Manager. He later became President and Chief Operating Officer in 1988.
During his leadership, Murray Guard became the 5th largest private security firm in the country with more than 5,000 employees and operations in 26 states. He and the executive team oversaw the successful acquisition and integration of 36 security firms. Ferguson also helped lead the additional holdings and investments of Murray Guard such as Madison’s, TRTV, Creekside Apartments, Personnel Placements among others. Additionally, he is an owner of several other businesses including Integrated Marketing Solutions and Regional Express Exxon.
Throughout his career, Ferguson has continued to give back to the community by serving in various organizations in West Tennessee. He formerly served on the Jackson Chamber Board of Directors for two decades and has shared his knowledge and expertise with a variety of other boards such as the Jackson Arts Council, the United Way, Star Center, the YMCA, and the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation. He was also part of Leadership Jackson’s inaugural class of 1978. In addition, Ferguson formerly served as a member of the Board of Directors and President for the Jackson Country Club and as Chairman of the University School of Jackson Board of Trustees. He is a member of Northside United Methodist Church and has served on several committees. Ferguson is also currently on the Board of Directors for First Tennessee Bank.
He and his wife, Debbie, have been married for 44 years. They have two sons, Ben and his wife Holly, Luke and his wife Meg, and are grandparents to Elena, Holland, and Piper.
Dan Brooks moved to Jackson in 2005 and quickly sought opportunities to volunteer for several non-profit organizations and causes within West Tennessee. He has been heavily involved with the Jackson Arts Council, where he served as a member of the Board of Directors and Vice President Development for nine years. While leading the Arts Council, Brooks also served as a role model for children by acting as different characters at various themed-related Council events. Even when his term ended, Brooks continued to mentor the younger generation through forming a Volunteer Committee that would mobilize high school students to help the arts. He currently serves as a substitute teacher at Northside High School and leads seminars that conduct mock interviews.
Brooks’ leadership has greatly impacted the local Boy Scout community. He was Scoutmaster of Troop 203 and earned the highly regarded status as Elangomat for the Order of the Arrow. He was also named Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor for Citizenship in Nation & World, Public Speaking, Communications, and Salesmanship. Brooks currently serves as a Wood Badge Course Director and Merit Badge Counselor. Not only does he continually inspire young men to stay in Boy Scouts, but he also encourages them to give back to their community.
A veteran of the army, Brooks is also a prime example of patriotism. For the past 11 years, he has demonstrated what it means to love one’s country by regularly conducting U.S. flag presentations and flag retirements. He also attends Northside Methodist Church, where he faithfully serves as a leader for the youth, church council, and outreach committee. In addition, he regularly volunteers his service for the West Tennessee March of Dimes, Regional Interfaith Association (RIFA), and the American Heart Association. In 2006, he earned the Governor’s Volunteer Star Award.
Brooks is married to Helen. Together they have four children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Although Wanda Stanfill spent much of her career in the non-profit sector, she has always had a passion for the arts. She is an accomplished portrait artist and graphic designer. She is the author and illustrator of the children’s book “Twig” and is in the process of writing her first novel. As a sculptor, she is known for her papier-mâché creations. A pair of Blue Suede Shoes is in the home of Grammy Producer John Cossette. She also created an eight-foot-tall papier-mâché sculpture of Persephone for Pat Kerr Tigrett’s fashion show.
Wanda added another element to her sculpture repertoire when she was commissioned to create a bronze sculpture of Sue Shelton White. White was the first female attorney in Jackson and one of the suffragists who fought and won the right for women to vote. The sculpture stands in Jackson City Hall Plaza and was dedicated on May 25, 2017.
In addition to her work in the arts, Wanda is a legislative advocate for the National Osteoporosis Foundation, member of the VFW 1848 Auxiliary, past co-chair of the City of Jackson Commission on Unity, former Ambassador for the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce and past second vice chair of Jackson Business Professional Women. She is vice-chair and founding member of the West Tennessee Artisan Trail and the board member for the Mid-West American Red Cross. Although she previously retired, she has since returned to the world of nonprofit and is with Tennessee Donor Services as a Hospital Services Coordinator.
Wanda is married to David Stanfill and has two children, Bo Hart and Christina Hart- Warr. She is also a grandmother to Ada, Austin, and Andrew.
Over the course of Les’ career, he has been instrumental in reaching out to youth and to those less fortunate. As the owner of Highland Green Golf Course, Les developed programs for Jackson Parks and Recreation to introduce young people to the life lessons and the game of golf. He created a Junior Golf Camp and a similar program for Girl Scouts that was recognized by the National Golf Foundation.
Les has contributed his skills to reach out to those suffering from addiction. In 2004, Les became Board President of Aspell’s Board of Directors and through his leadership rebuilt the board by adding many interested citizens of West Tennessee. At the time he became Board President of Aspell Recovery, the organization was both financially and clinically challenged, working with a budget of less than $500,000 and serving approximately 100 men annually. Today, Aspell’s budget is $2.7 million and will serve almost 300 men and women not including its housing programs. Les stepped down as Chairman of the Board of Aspell in 2016, but continues to serve as Chair of Aspell’s Planning and Vision Committee; committed to implementing and completing their most recent strategic plan.
Les is a past board member of the Jackson Symphony Association and served as president for two years. He also hosted the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation “Million Dollar Hole in One Shootout” from 1988 to 2005, which helped raise funds for the Foundation in its early years. He is an active member of First United Methodist Church involved in lay leadership in many capacities for more than 35 years, and he has been a Sunday school teacher for over 30 years. He served as a volunteer teacher and leader of the Girls’ Golf Club sponsored by the Girl Scouts of America for several years in the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s.
Les is married to Pam, and they have two adult daughters, Mary and Margaret, and one granddaughter, Sarah Margaret.
Linda Shoe Austin
Linda Austin was born and raised in Jackson, a graduate of North Side High School, University of Tennessee Martin (B.S in Education), and University of Memphis (Masters in Secondary Education). She taught English for 30 years in the Jackson-Madison County School System. The career highlights and accolades Linda treasures the most are the hundreds of students that have gone on to become successful leaders in countless professions. She is reminded by their stories that to teach is to touch a life forever.
Linda may have retired from teaching in 2007, but her impact on education was far from finished. Shortly after her retirement, she started a business to help families prepare for and apply to college. She quickly realized the students that needed the most help with college preparation were the ones in our public high schools. Linda volunteered for a steering committee to create Madison Achieves, a college-access program for Jackson-Madison County schools. For five years, Linda worked to provide last dollar scholarships to eligible students in JMCSS. In 2014, Madison Achieves was absorbed into the Tennessee Promise scholarship program, and Linda changed her focus to literacy.
Linda joined a group of retired educators to implement ARISE2Read in JMCSS. The program partners with churches to recruit and train volunteers to help second graders in high-poverty elementary schools learn to read. ARISE2Read now has 300 volunteers who work one-on-one with second graders each week in Jackson’s five highest-need elementary schools. Last year, students who were coached twice a week showed a 291% increase in sight word recognition. Sight words are the key to build the foundation of literacy students need by third grade.
Linda is married to Jim, and they have two daughters, Shay and Whitney, and three grandchildren, Carly, Reed, and Austin.
Dr. Joseph Rowland
Dr. Joseph Rowland pioneered the practice of neurosurgery in Jackson, Tennessee. In the sixties, there were no neurological services available in our city, but in 1968 Semmes Murphey Clinic of Memphis began to send a few of its physicians to see patients who needed neurosurgery or neurological consults. One of those physicians was Dr. Rowland. Although consults were made in Jackson, patients would then have to travel to Memphis for surgeries and procedures. Dr. Rowland asked Semmes Murphy to have a satellite office in Jackson in order to reduce the stress on the patients and families who had to travel and stay in unfamiliar places in order to have these surgeries. They agreed, and in 1973, Dr. Rowland moved his family and his practice to Jackson.
He was allotted an entire floor at the hospital and began to train the nurses and technicians. He also procured the equipment needed for the neurosurgical unit. As the demand for services grew, Dr. Rowland welcomed more neurosurgeons and neurologists to the Jackson practice. Eventually, the group became known as the West Tennessee Neuroscience & Spine Center. In recent years, the group joined West Tennessee Healthcare to offer complete neurological services to our hospital. Dr. Rowland practiced for 45 years until his retirement in 2013.
In his retirement, Dr. Rowland enjoys giving back to the community he has called home for more than four decades. He actively supports the Care Center, RIFA, Hands Up, Youth Town, and the Dream Center monthly. He was awarded the Dream Center’s Giving Award in 2016. He is also an avid gardener and has beautifully landscaped his home into a relaxing retreat to be rivaled by Southern Living.
Dr. Rowland and his wife, Sally, have four children: Chris, Joe, Nicole, and Honey, and eight grandchildren: Cole, Taylor, Mary Virginia, Meredith, Phebe, Council, Sarah Elizabeth, and Meriel.
Robert Alderson was born and raised in Jackson. He graduated from Jackson High School, received his undergraduate degree from Union University, and earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee Law School. Robert was also a decorated soldier in the U.S. Army, receiving several medals for his service during the Vietnam War.
Robert practiced law for thirteen years with the firm of Menzies, Rainey, Kizer, and Alderson where he was a senior partner engaged in civil trial, corporate banking, bankruptcy and insurance defense practice. In 1986, he joined the Kirkland’s, Inc. retail organization as Senior Vice President of Administration and Development until 1997. He then became President and Chief Operating Officer until 2001, and was subsequently named President and Chief Executive Officer. He was the driving force behind the company’s expansion from a small regional retailer of 16 stores to a national chain with over 320 stores in 34 states. He successfully led the company through an initial public offering in 2002. In December 2004, he also began serving on the Board of Directors and continued in this role until his death in November 2016.
Robert served in a variety of leadership roles on boards at both the local and state level. Some of those organization included Episcopal Day School, University School of Jackson, Union University, Rhodes College Parents Council, West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation, Jackson Chamber of Commerce, West Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross, Jackson Exchange Club, Bank of Trenton and Trust Company, Bank of Henderson County, Girl Scouts of Tennessee, Jackson Country Club, Jackson-Madison County Airport Authority, Miss Tennessee Scholarship Foundation, International Shopping Centers, and Bojangle’s Inc. In June, the Miss Tennessee Pageant named the Quality of Life Excellence in Community Service Award in Robert’s honor.
Robert was married to Jane Matthews Alderson, and together they had two children, Amy and Allison, and three grandchildren, Ava, Madeline, and Dylan.
Charlene Dunn Walker
Charlene Walker is a dedicated volunteer of West Tennessee Healthcare and has been for the past 25 years. She initially came to the hospital as a Red Cross volunteer, and she is one of only two of our volunteers who still represent that long-standing partnership. She was recently recognized in May as an outstanding volunteer by Red Cross during its annual Heroes Luncheon.
During West Tennessee Healthcare’s annual Volunteer Service Awards programs, she has consistently been recognized for logging more hours of work than our standard full time paid employees (2,080 hours). During the 2016-2017 year, Charlene worked 2,328 hours. Over her tenure at WTH, she has worked more than 27,600 hours. She has also served in a number of leadership roles with the group such as Treasurer, Secretary, Nominating Committee Member, Red Cross Chair, Hospitality House Chair, Spring Luncheon Chair, and most recently Board President for a two-year term in 2012-2014.
She has delivered thousands of pieces of mail and flowers to patients at the hospital. At the same time, she has hosted hundreds of families in our hospitality houses as if they were her own family. She serves as the chair of the West Tennessee Healthcare Volunteer Auxiliary, which is also the program that supports the furnishings, general housekeeping, utilities, and supplies for the homes in which both short-term and long-term patients and families can stay in while being treated at our facilities. Charlene personally cleans each house after it is vacated, and gets it ready for the next guest. When guests are in the houses, she does everything possible to make their stay more comfortable. She has also been known to fulfill grocery lists from her own finances, and decorate the houses for the holidays if the patients staying there so desire. She is known for going above and beyond in whatever she does.
Charlene was married to Harold for 48 years, when he passed away in 1995. They have two children, Debbie and Stan, three granddaughters, four great-grandchildren, and “many, many adopted children and adults” that she has known for many years.
Jacque Hillman is incredibly involved in the art culture of Jackson. She is the owner and designer of Reconfigured Art Jewelry, the co-founder and president of the West Tennessee Artisan Trail, and the senior partner of HillHelen Group LLC Publishing Company. She also serves on the Tennessee Woman’s Suffrage Monument Board, the Area Relief Ministries Board, and the Jackson-Madison County Library Foundation Board. Jacque is a member of the Jackson Area Business and Professional Women and the Jackson Exchange Club.
Jacque has received many honors and awards for her work. She was featured on the PBS TV show, Tennessee Crossroads. Her work was chosen for the Pink Palace 40th Anniversary of Crafts. She was also chosen to design 200 limited edition Perfect 36 Society brooches for the Tennessee Woman’s Suffrage Monument Foundation. Former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen chose Jacque to be one of five to receive a Tennessee scholarship for the Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy.
She was named the 2014 Sterling Award Winner: 20 Most Influential Women of West Tennessee. She was an award-winning writer and editor with the Jackson Sun for 23 years. She also won the Gannett Corp. Public Service Journalism award, the national Gannett Top Feature Writer, and the Publisher’s Award of Excellence. She is also the 2015 state winner of the Kay Culbertson Mentorship Award of Excellence.
Jacque is married to Jesse, and they have two daughters, Sara and Lea.
For more than 25 years, Jerry Gay has demonstrated a commitment to community improvement through his volunteer service. Through his actions, Jerry exemplifies a faithful calling to serve, not just for a day, or a season, but for the entirety of his life.
Jerry has served on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club, Shannon Street Blues and Music Festival, Jackson Downtown Development, the NED Center for Performing and Visual Arts, the Faith Healing Center, Relay for Life, and the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. He also served on the founding committee for the City of Jackson outdoor Amphitheatre (AMP). Jerry has moved social service and arts agencies together jointly to benefit people. He is also an active member at North Side United Methodist Church. As a member of the Chancel Choir, he brings not only an excellent voice but also a lot of joy.
Jerry has a servant’s heart and is willing to take on any task set before him, working at the task until it is accomplished. He has returned so much to the longevity and well-being of the community through his service.
Jerry and his wife of 42 years, Nancy, are blessed with two children and two grandchildren. Faith and family have been the anchors of his willingness and spirit to serve.
Stuart Hirstein moved to Jackson in 2013 to become the Head of School for the University School of Jackson. Coming from the Island Pacific Academy in Hawaii, he did not know anyone in Jackson. However, the unfamiliarity of the places and faces did not slow him down. He jumped right in as soon as he arrived, already having lead the school through a new strategic plan and mission statement revision. He has been making a very positive impact at USJ ever since his arrival. Stuart’s care and high level of attention to those in the USJ community have inspired others in the school community to work to improve the experience for each student and family. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Jackson where he also serves on the board. He was also recently recognized as one of Jackson’s Finest Young Professionals.
Stuart received his B.S. in Secondary Education from Tusculum College while also being a four year varsity letter winner in baseball and elected into the Tusculum College Sports Hall of Fame. After college he joined the United States Army becoming a decorated Gulf War Veteran. He later received his MBA from Rider University. He and his wife Mimi have four children, two of whom are current students at University School of Jackson.
Carl Rudd moved to Jackson to be the Administrator and CEO of The Jackson Clinic Professional Association in 1976. Under his leadership, the Jackson Clinic has grown from 23 doctors to a clinic with 133 physicians and 617 total employees. He has sharpened the skills needed to lead a growing organization in the ever-changing field of healthcare. Carl is a health care leader, not only in Jackson, but also at both the state and national levels. He is a founding member of the American Medical Group Association (AMGA), a group of healthcare providers that includes Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Vanderbilt, and Kaiser Permanente, among many others. The Jackson Clinic was awarded AMGA’s Medical Group Preeminence Award in 2000 for their exceptional leadership, innovation, vision, and contributions to the advancement of quality, effective heath care delivery practices, and structure. They were also recognized for their outstanding contributions to the local community, and Carl has been a key factor in making the Jackson Clinic what it is today.
Carl has been very involved in the Jackson community, too. He has served on the Board of Directors for Jackson Christian School, the Jackson Symphony, First Tennessee Bank, Jackson YMCA, the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, and United Way of West Tennessee. He serves as an Elder at Skyline Church of Christ. Branching beyond Jackson, he has also served on international missions to Haiti and South Africa. In 2015, a new medical clinic in Zimbabwe, South Africa, was dedicated in his honor for having provided wells for water and feeding hundreds of children over the years.
Carl Rudd’s leadership philosophy is, “A leader does not take people where they want to go; a leader takes them where they need to go.” Carl is uniquely gifted in cultivating leadership; he enables people to chart a course and follow it.
Carl is married to Flo and they have four sons, Adam, Jason, Josh, and Seth, along with eight grandchildren.
Curtis Mansfield has been working in Jackson since 1962. Throughout his career of more than 50 years, he has held a variety of leadership positions. Currently, he serves as the City President and is on the Board of Trustees for FirstBank.
He has held a variety of leadership roles for civic and social service organizations such as the Miss Tennessee Pageant Foundation, Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, Englewood Baptist Church, Jackson Energy Authority, Foundation Board of Union University, City of Medina, Jackson Rotary Club, Jackson Arts Council, Jackson Downtown Lion’s Club, Jackson Family YMCA, Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, United Way, and the Star Center. He has served for 20 years as a member of the Board of Trustees for West Tennessee Healthcare, including serving as Chairman for two terms. Curtis was also in the 1980 class of Leadership Jackson. He exemplifies what a good leader should be, which is why he is the recipient of this award.
Curtis, and his wife, Joan, have four children and six grandchildren – all of whom live within a 25 mile radius of Jackson. He is thankful for the great education, spiritual environment, and quality of life for them all.
Darren Lykes has always had an artist’s eye. What began as a hobby when he was only seventeen grew into a passion and his future profession. In 2009, he took his craft to the next level, and Darren Lykes Photography was born. Through the years, he has achieved numerous professional accomplishments. Darren is the official photographer of the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant and a contributing photographer for At Home Memphis Mid-South Magazine. He has been featured as a food stylist and freelance photographer for the Jackson Sun, and he was featured in 301 Magazine as one of the “Top Pros to Know”. In 2015, he was selected for The Jackson Sun’s 2015 Class of Forty Under 40.
Even though he remains very busy with his profession, he always makes time to volunteer in the community. He has been involved in the Downtown Development Corporation as a chairperson on multiple committees and in the Downtown Dogs Group as board member and chairperson. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the Ayers Children’s Medical Center and was a board member of the Lambuth Area Neighborhood Association (LANA). He serves as the Event Coordinator for the Founder’s Day Scholarship Gala at Lane College and is the schools’ official photographer. Darren has also been actively involved with Wo/Men’s Resource and Rape Assistance Program (WRAP), served on the Season Unity Coalition for the City of Jackson, and helped with Runway for a Cure to benefit the American Cancer Society.
Darren is the son of Vivian and Bernard Lykes and has a brother and a sister and a nephew. Despite his demanding schedule, he loves to cook and entertain for friends and family and to travel.
In regard to history and art, William Bell Hickerson, Jr. is a well-known and respected name in West Tennessee.
After receiving his degree from Middle Tennessee State University, Bill quickly discovered and began to foster his newfound love for historical art. He became an instructor of art classes and workshops at Jackson State Community College, Ned McWherter West Tennessee Cultural Arts Center, and the U.T. West Tennessee Agriculture Museum. He went on to be recognized as “Museum Art Educator of the Year” and the “West Tennessee Art Educator of the Year,” for his wealth of knowledge and gift of teaching.
His first love is art, but Bill has also been extremely active in Lineage Societies across the United States. He is the President and Registrar of the James Madison Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution—a group for the male lineal descendants of patriots who served to promote freedom and independence in the American Revolution. He also currently serves as the President of the David Crockett Chapter of the General Society of the War of 1812, an organization whose purpose is to encourage the “collection and preservation of rolls, records, books, and other documents relating to the War of 1812.” In addition, Bill is the President of the Captain Nicholas Martiau Chapter of the Huguenot Society of the Founders of Manakin in the Colony of Virginia. He is also involved with the following programs: First Families of Tennessee, Founding Families of Coffee County, General Society of Colonial Wars, Jamestowne Society, Military Order of the Stars and Bars, and the National Society of Washington Family Descendants.
Amidst being involved with countless historical organizations, Bill has served as a member of the Tennessee Art Education Association, the Tennessee Association of Museums, and the Jackson Arts Coalition. His works have been recognized across the state, and his zeal for American history is an inspiration to those around him. Bill Hickerson’s works of creativity, remembrance, and leadership have served West Tennessee well.
Michelle James is a lifelong resident of Jackson and a graduate of Union University. She began her accounting career at West Tennessee Healthcare in 1995. After a decade, she joined the teaching staff West Tennessee Business College, but she returned to West Tennessee Healthcare in 2013. Numbers may be her career, but she has always had another passion.
Michelle has been dynamically involved in the community for many years. She has been active in fundraising for cancer research through Relay for Life and was a member of the Jackson Exchange Club. However, Michelle’s passion has always been our furry companions. In 2007, she dedicated her service efforts to animal advocacy and rescue.
Putting her passion and love for animals into action, she co-founded Downtown Dogs Group in 2009 in order to fill a need for a safe haven for senior, feral, injured, and other special needs dogs and cats. She has worked tirelessly to ensure the ethical treatment of animals in our city. She has also been actively involved in efforts to spay/neuter these pets and to advocate responsible pet ownership initiatives in Jackson and Madison County.
Michelle is the last person to tell you all the things she is doing in the community. Her humble spirit typically focuses on the projects of others, seeking no acknowledgement for herself. When she sees something unacceptable in the community, she feels it is her obligation to work and to provide, and to never give up until the situation is made right. Michelle says she believes “service is an essential part of life; it’s how we pay forward the blessings bestowed upon us.” Her hope is that in her lifetime West Tennessee will become a haven for companion animals.
Dr. Logan Hampton
Dr. Logan Hampton has spent his entire career in higher education. His love of learning is evident by both the number of degrees he holds and the positions he has held.
Dr. Hampton received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Arkansas Tech University. After graduation, he went on to receive a master’s degree in student personnel services from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. It was here he began his career in higher education working as a Program Advisor for Student Services.
He went on to hold positions at Texas Christian University, Texas A & M University, and the University of Central Arkansas before being named director of the Donaghey Student Center at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. Once at UALR, Dr. Hampton served in numerous student services capacities. His most recent appointment at UALR was Vice Provost for Student Affairs. In this position, Dr. Hampton served as the chief student affairs officer and led the student development and student life programs, including judicial affairs, budgetary and administrative services. In addition to working as a higher education administrator, Dr. Hampton was a member of the Board of Trustees for Arkansas Baptist College.
Dr. Hampton earned his doctorate in higher education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He also is a graduate of the Harvard Institute of Management and Leadership in Education at Harvard University and the College Business Management Institute (CBMI) at the University of Kentucky.
On June 12, 2014, Dr. Hampton was named the tenth president of Lane College by the Lane College Board of Trustees. In his role, he serves as the chief executive officer of the college and provides overall management of the college’s activities.
He is a member of Old Hickory Rotary Club and St. Paul CME Church. He and his wife, Susan, are the parents of three children: Elise, Crystal and Logan III.
Dr. Vernessa Davis-Tharpe
We honor Dr. Vanessa Davis-Tharpe for her commitment to making healthcare not only a career choice, but also a lifelong conviction to serve others. Dr. Davis-Tharpe was born in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated from Tennessee State University in Nashville, and then went on to attend medical school at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She completed her pediatric residency at D.C. General Hospital before moving to Jackson in 1996.
Dr. Davis-Tharpe continues to use her medical expertise to serve others. For years, she has been involved in Operation Hope—a faith-based nonprofit that enhances the lives of families through childcare, food, and beyond. Each year, she provides kindergarten, school, and sports physicals at Operation Hope’s Back to School Event.
She has also been instrumental to the Neonatal Follow-up Clinic. Since the clinic began in 2004, Dr. Davis-Tharpe has played a vital role in making sure our high-risk premature babies have the best start possible. She genuinely cares about her tiny patients and always strives to provide the best care possible to ensure these babies have everything they need to grow into healthy kids. Her care, compassion, dedication, and team approach have significantly improved outcomes for these babies and their families. She not only offers medical care, but a network of support to the parents and families of these babies. Her rapport with her patients is one of the most endearing things about her. She is a true blessing to the communities we serve.
Some of Dr. Davis-Tharpe’s career accomplishments include the Operation Hope “Hero of Hope” Award, the Donna Jean Walker Award for Excellence in Maternal and Infant Medicine, and the Beyond the Call Award from West Tennessee Healthcare for the “Toys for Africa” initiative. In addition, Dr. Davis-Tharpe is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.
Dr. Davis-Tharpe is married to Siegfried Tharpe and has six wonderful children. While her extracurricular interests once centered on the children, she now loves cooking, traveling and spending time with her mother in Nashville.
In our community, the name Judy Renshaw is tantamount with leadership. Judy retired earlier this year, after forty years of employment with the Jackson Chamber. Her entire career was focused on the betterment of the Jackson community, and while at the Chamber, she served in every department except Economic Development. At the time of her retirement, Judy was serving as Senior Vice President of Business and Community Services.
Judy opened countless doors for the Jackson community in leadership development. She worked with the Leadership Jackson program from its inception in 1979, helping it become one of the most outstanding leadership programs in our state. In 1997, Judy made history as one of the founding members of the state’s first leadership program, Tennessee Association of Community Leadership (T.A.C.L.). Judy has been a frequent guest speaker at workshops and conferences across the state. She has also been involved in WestStar, a regional leadership program for West Tennessee, since 1992, both as a graduate of the program and an active member of the alumni.
Judy’s personal volunteer efforts include both membership and leadership roles with the Exchange Club—Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, the Jackson Arts Council, the Jackson Exchange Club, and the American Red Cross. She has also worked with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, West Tennessee Business College, NAIA, First Friday Forum, the March of Dimes, and the Jackson Family YMCA.
Judy’s tireless efforts have not gone unnoticed. Her recognitions include the WJAK Action Award, the Pearl Award, the Vocational Service Award, the Sterling Award, and the “Make a Difference” Alumni Award. She has been named Exchangite of the Year, an Outstanding Tennessee Leadership Educator, a “Mover and Shaker” in Jackson-Madison County, one of 20 Most Influential Women in West Tennessee, and Humanitarian of the Year. Leadership University’s “Judy Renshaw Leadership Award” and Leadership Jackson’s “Judy Renshaw Leadership Jackson Alumni Association Youth Scholarship” were both named in her honor.
Aside from her professional accomplishments, Judy is especially proud of her family—husband Dr. Dennis Renshaw, daughters Camille, Kristi, and Heather, son Denny, and her seven precious grandchildren.
It’s not likely that you can attend an event in Jackson without running into Val Exum. Beloved by everyone who knows her, Val strengthens everyone around her with her generous spirit and zealous ambitions.
Although Val was raised in Humboldt, she attended Jackson Christian School and then went on to graduate from Union University. Val was first introduced to the Foundation as an Ayers Children’s Medical Center board member in 2007; where she went on to serve as chair. Val also served as the Charity Gala Chair for two years, and has been a vital part of making this event what it is today. She joined the Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2013.
In addition to her work with the Foundation, Val serves on numerous committees at First United Methodist, where she also taught Sunday morning bible class. She’s also a member and past chair of the Circle of Red for the American Heart Association. Val is on the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant Board of Directors, and also serves the pageant as ticket chairperson, where she is responsible for annual sponsorship and ticket sales each year.
Val’s favorite quote is by Helen Keller; “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” In her spare time, Val enjoys either traveling with family or spending time in Downtown Jackson doing some of her favorite things—listening to music at the AMP, visiting her husband Jimmy at his recording studio Jaxon Records, and working out at the LIFT. In short, Val enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Her greatest reward, according to Val, is watching it all unfold. “I believe we live in a wonderful city and county,” she says. “Volunteering is in my heart and I love to see our community come together and accomplish such amazing things.”
Pat Brown-Seltzer received her education of dance from Hartford, Connecticut and her Masters in teaching in New York City. She moved to Jackson in 1963 and opened the Pat Brown School of Dance, which celebrates its fiftieth year of operations this year. During the last five decades, she has taught thousands of students the art of dance and has enriched our community by bringing ballet center stage.
Pat taught in satellite schools throughout West Tennessee for twenty-two years. She did choreography for the Jackson Theater Guild and for Lambuth Theater. She also worked with the Parks and Recreation Department where she taught summer dance classes.
In the early seventies, she and fellow ballet teacher, Jackie Ralls, began discussing the idea of starting a civic ballet company in Jackson. In 1975, Ballets Arts was chartered with the goal of giving local dancers the opportunity to participate in quality performances while establishing a greater appreciation of dance in the community. Despite very humble beginnings, the group continued to grow audiences and community support of the program. In 1981, Ballet Arts partnered with a Memphis ballet company for a local production of The Nutcracker, and our city took notice.
Since then, Ballet Arts has sponsored the annual production of The Nutcracker bringing professional dancers from across the country and the globe to join the local company of dancers. It is the longest-running production of The Nutcracker in the state, and Pat and her staff work diligently each year to bring new energy to the show. For many in our area, it is a holiday tradition. The company also produces a spring show each year.
Pat served as a member of Tennessee Arts Commission’s Dance Panel and was President for the Tennessee Association of Dance. She has also been recognized for her contributions to our community both as a teacher and as a small business owner. In 1999, she was named the Tennessee Association of Dance’s Teacher of the Year. In 2012, she was presented a Sterling Award from the Business and Professional Women of Jackson.
Steve Bowers is no stranger to the Jackson community. In fact, many people hear his voice at least five days a week, as he is the voice of Daybreak and Prime Time Drive on NewsTalk 101.5 FM. He is also the TV/Media Manager for Jackson Energy Authority and hosts several weekly shows on E+ TV6.
Steve uses his gift of gab to keep Jackson and West Tennessee informed on many political, educational and social topics during his daily radio shows. He has also served as the Master of Ceremonies for many community events such as the NAIA banquet, Strikes for Tikes, American Heart Walk, JumpStart Jackson, and Signature Chefs.
He has served as a board member for the Boys and Girls Club of Jackson, J.A.C.O.A., the Red Cross, Aspell Recovery Center, Ayers Children’s Medical Center and the Jackson Chamber.
Steve’s son, Clayton, was born almost four months early and given only a 30% chance of survival. Today, he is a healthy, active and typically developing eleven year old. Steve is very involved with the March of Dimes and the Therapy & Learning Center, as he feels both organizations helped his son Clayton.
Steve continually puts a focus on others in the community, often unaware of how much he has impacted the lives of those around him. Whether showcasing young talent on his radio or TV shows, sharing contacts he has made throughout the years or mentoring journalism students or fellow workers; Steve invests in the lives of others. He wants to help his community be the very best it can be.
He also serves his church, First Cumberland Presbyterian, as a Sunday school teacher, elder and member of the Membership and Long Range Planning committees.
Through it all, Steve wants little credit directed his way. He is much happier to use his talents to serve others and his community – making Jackson the best it can be.
Dr. Verna Ruffin
Dr. Verna Ruffin has spent almost four decades committed to the primary education of children. After graduating from Louisiana State University with her Masters in Education, she began her career as a middle school band director in Lafayette, Louisiana. From there, her educational and career advancements took her to Texas and Oklahoma where she later received her Doctorate in Education.
She accepted the position as superintendent of Jackson-Madison County School System in January 2013 and officially began her duties on July 1 of that year. Dr. Ruffin created a vision for the system and has provided the leadership needed to reach those goals. She created multiple committees to engage various stakeholders to gather input and create an action plan to prepare our students for 21st century jobs.
In August 2014, the Academic Academy, which is a school within a school for gifted sixth through eighth grade students, began at Northeast Middle School. An Early College High School is slated to open in the 2015-2016 school year. It will offer students the ability to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree at the same time. Most recently, three of the district’s schools were recognized as Reward Schools for the first time: Denmark Elementary, Southside High School and Madison Academic High School. Reward schools are the top 10 percent of schools in the state as measured in either performance or year-over-year progress to accountability standards.
The National Society of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., recently awarded Dr. Ruffin the 2014 Educator of the Year award. She also received the 2014 Vision Award from Pope Elementary. She has also published several research reviews on educational leadership in the community.
Dr. Ruffing is also involved in the community and serves as a board member for The Exchange Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, the Jackson Symphony and the United Way. In addition, she serves on the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Dr. Don LaFont
Dr. Don LaFont moved to Jackson in 1970 to begin a pediatric practice with Dr. Bobby Higgs and Dr. Jessie Miller. The trio later joined the Jackson Clinic in 1982, and Dr. LaFont practiced pediatric medicine for 31 years before retiring in 2001.
During his years of professional practice, Dr. LaFont served in several leadership roles at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital such as Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and as a member of both the Credentials and By-Laws committees. He was a Clinical Professor with University of Tennessee Family Practice for 21 years.
Dr. LaFont was actively involved in local non-profits focused on health including the March of Dimes, the American Heart Association and the West Tennessee Speech and Hearing Center. He was awarded the Dr. Donna Jean Walker Award for Excellence in Maternal/Fetal Medicine by the March of Dimes. He is also 50 year member with the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization.
Since his retirement, Don has continued to care for those with medical needs through his medical mission work throughout Haiti. He makes several trips to the country each year to provide medical aide to impoverished citizens. He even spent three weeks in Port-Au-Prince following the earthquake that devastated the area in January 2010.
In 2012, he started the Haitian Medical and Dental Team Fund at the Foundation to help cover expenses associated with these trips. The mission of the fund is to support an annual team of physicians, practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and dentists to provide care and medications in a remote village in Haiti. He continually works to raise funds and needed supplies for the trips.
Kyle Spurgeon has lived in Jackson since 1992. He was first employed with Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Economic Development. In 1999, he became the Vice-President of Corporate Relations for Jackson Energy Authority. He returned to the Chamber as the President/CEO in October 2009.
Since his first position the Chamber in 1993, Kyle has been actively involved in the economic development of our city and region. He helped direct development of the West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex. He has also helped facilitate project locations, which represent more than $1.8 billion in capital investment. He has testified before the state legislature regarding tax incentives and workforce issues.
Kyle has served as an instructor for the Economic Development Institute based in Norman, Oklahoma. He served as Vice Chairman on the Tennessee Board for Economic Growth and as Chairman of the Tennessee Building and Finance Commission.
Kyle is a past President of the Tennessee Economic Development Council and past board member of the Southern Economic Development Council. He is currently the Vice President of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executives and is a board member for the Tennessee Economic Partnership.
He was involved in the creation of the Jackson Regional Partnership, which is designed to promote regionalism and to assist members in being better prepared as they compete for jobs and investments. The partnership includes the nine counties of Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Henderson Madison and McNairy. Kyle currently serves as Managing Director of the partnership.
Kyle has been a strong advocate for our public school system by encouraging the Chamber’s funding of the strategic plan for the school system and through the funding of the superintendent search. Under his leadership there has also been a renewed effort in the area of wellness. During his tenure, the city has seen Jackson Walk, the LIFT as well as the wellness trail in downtown Jackson come to fruition.
Kyle served as a board member for Make-A-Wish, the Exchange Club Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, and the Boy Scouts Eagle Club Banquet.
Tawnya Moore has lived in West Tennessee all of her life and has called Jackson home for the past eleven years. Since moving here, she has been actively involved in serving her community.
As a member of the Jackson Exchange Club, Tawnya currently holds a variety of offices including Fundraising Chair for the Toast of Jackson and Flags of Freedom committees, Co-Chair of the Membership Committee and member of the board. She is also a past President for the Club and was recognized as Club President of the Year by the Tennessee District in 2011. She was selected Jackson Exchangite of the Year in 2012 and went on to win the District Exchangite of the Year. She is a proud advocate for the Jackson Exchange Club and can usually be found at most of the club’s activities.
She has also been involved with the Exchange Club Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse for many years. She currently serves as a member of the Executive Board and has been Chair of both the Circles of Hope Telethon and the Blue Suede Dinner and Auction in the past.
Tawnya is the Vice President of Crime Stoppers of Jackson, a board member of Historical East Jackson Community Development, and a member of Jackson Business and Professional Women.
Those who have had the pleasure of serving with Tawnya will be quick to tell you she is an asset to any team she joins. She is quick to offer positive encouragement and to take on responsibility for projects. She feels it is her responsibility to give back to the community she calls home, and she shows that through her dedication to serving others.
Lendon Noe is one of West Tennessee’s most celebrated artists. Her work with young people from elementary through college has enabled her to inspire students to step out into the field of art as a profession. Though she is best known to this area as a professor at Lambuth University, Lendon is a studied, award-winning artist holding two master’s degrees and having art displayed throughout many cities and in multiple states. She typically avoids the spotlight as praise and glory have never been her driving force. She is committed to the student and their success.
After graduating from Rollins College in Florida, Lendon traveled almost coast to coast to attain what she felt was a fully rounded education in art and in the teaching of art. Beyond Rollins College she went on to receive a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee and then a master’s of Fine Art for Vermont College in Montpelier Vermont.
Upon returning to Jackson, Lendon began teaching humanities and art k-12 at Old Hickory academy. From there she moved on to the Jackson Arts Council as their first paid professional director and then to her beloved Lambuth University where she was employed as a professor of art for more than 28 years.
Throughout her career she has continued to seek opportunities to grow as an artist and assist others in doing so as well. Lendon is responsible for dozens of children’s art and culture workshops, in-service programs and workshops for k-12 teachers and administrators, led creative and critical thinking workshops for businesses.
Lendon is currently represented by Art Under a Hot Tin Roof in Memphis and by Gallery One in Nashville. Some of her exhibitions have been shown in many cities across our state as well as in Alabama, Nevada, Florida, Arkansas-where she served as an artist in residence for the Buffalo National River-and South Carolina. She has also taught at the Marchutz School of Painting in France.
Perhaps she states it best in saying, “I truly believe there can be no community without art. We turn to the arts when we celebrate, when we mourn, when we remember, when we look to the future, when we worship and when we want to understand.”
A passionate teacher, artist and community servant, Lendon Noe, the 2011 Jackson Award recipient for The Arts.
Roy Heatherly is a humble, caring and dedicated leader, determined to serve in making Jackson a better place to live and work. His preference is to be a hands-on worker and avoid the recognition and accolades deserved by someone who does so. Within weeks of returning to Jackson in 2008, Roy began serving non-profits in the community and since that time has been actively involved with more than ten non-profits as a board member and volunteer.
Because Roy quietly serves, most are not aware to what extent his service reaches. He serves on the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce board and most recently as a team captain for the chamber’s successful membership drive. He has served as a member of the class selection committee for Leadership Jackson as well as a volunteer and speaker for the program. He currently serves as secretary for the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation board and was elected this year to serve as chairman of the board for United Way of West Tennessee where he has led the search for a new president. Roy has also served on the STAR Center board and the board for the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse where he chaired the 2010 Blue Suede Spectacular Event.
Whether orchestrating an event, offering guidance as a board member or spending the day cleaning up at the Hollywood Cemetery’s annual clean-up days, Roy chooses to lead in whatever capacity will most benefit the non-profit he serves.
Former president of the United Way Alan Turner said, “Roy is infectiously passionate about doing the right thing. He gives of his time, money and leadership. He is a lifelong advocate for the city and citizens of Jackson.”
A man who leads by example, actions and is more than worthy of recognition, Roy Heatherly, the 2011 Jackson Award recipient for Community Service.
Rayna Bomar began working at Madison County Juvenile Court Services two days after graduating from college with her bachelor’s degree and quickly realized that many, if not most, of the problems that her clients encountered were school-related. She also recognized that she needed to be able to better communicate with school personnel if she was going to make a difference for these young people. Therefore, after earning a master’s degree in counseling, Rayna went back to graduate school and earned a second master’s degree in special education.
While employed at Juvenile Court Services she helped develop the Resource Center which was the first alternative school in Madison County. After graduating from law school she continued that work as a volunteer teaching a course to first time minor offenders and by presenting workshops to the Jackson Area Council on Young Children and various preschools on legal issues related to early childhood education.
She has served as a room mother, field trip chaperone, school volunteer and tutor from the time her son, Sam, was in elementary school through his high school career. Rayna’s biggest impact can be felt in the work she has done at Madison Academic Magnet High School. In 2006 Rayna attended the organizational meeting of the Madison Academic Parental Support Group-she was one of four people present at the meeting. Because of Rayna and the efforts of others, the Parent Support Group has grown to include a large percentage of Madison parents, and over $35,000 has been raised and distributed to the school and its organizations.
Beyond her work with the Parent Support Group, Rayna served in developing and coaching the forensics debate team at the school, has served on the SACS accreditation committee for two different school years, chaired a project graduation which raised more than $30,000 and assisted in developing a uniform closet to benefit low-income students at Madison, Jackson-Central Merry and Tigrett schools.
To honor the memory of her son, Sam, Rayna, her husband Hugh and many family and friends have established the Sam Bomar Memorial Scholarship Fund. Each year a $1000 scholarship is awarded to a senior graduating from Madison Academic High School and an additional $1000 scholarship is awarded to a senior graduating from another high school located in Madison County.
A selfless supporter for youth in our community, Rayna Bomar, the 2011 recipient of the Jackson Award for Education.
As a practicing pharmacist for more than 37 years, Mr. Arnold has always held a genuine interest in the health of West Tennesseans. Upon moving to Halls, Tennessee in the early 1960’s Sammie wasted no time in becoming an involved citizen dedicated to the town and its people through service. In 1962 he opened Arnold’s Drug Company-a business he operated for more than 29 years. During that same decade he was elected as a city alderman and eventually served six terms at mayor of Halls. During his tenure Halls saw unprecedented growth and was recognized by The Commercial Appeal with the Most Progressive Small City award three years in a row.
Under his leadership in 1972 Halls built a new medical clinic and staffed it with two physicians and a dentist after the loss of both existing physicians in that same year. Beyond his work on the local level, Sammie has served at the state level having been appointed by Governor Lamar Alexander to serve on the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy for six years and appointed by current Governor Bill Haslam to serve on the Haywood County Megasite Board.
Since 1998 he has diligently served as a board member for West Tennessee Healthcare. During his service on the board the health system has expanded its services and facilities. As a board member, his desire is for every service area to offer the latest technology, whether it is a linear accelerator for the treatment of cancer or the latest technology to detect other disease entities. The care of the patient and their family has always been of concern to him-his philosophy is high tech and high touch.
According to retired hospital Vice President Kathy Ross, “He sets a high standard of integrity, commitment and consistency.”
A worthy recipient and valued leader, Sammie Arnold, your 2011 Jackson Award recipient for Health Care.
Clark Shaw’s work ethic started with his father Brooks Shaw who was president of the Kelly Foods Company and whose visionary leadership began the Old Country Store in 1965. Clark’s first job at the Old Country Store was in the dish room. He worked his way up through the ranks of the organization being mentored by Norwood Jones and his mother Anne Shaw. Clark’s involvement grew into a love and a passion for the family business and for extending hospitality to friends from across the nation and around the world. Today, he leads a staff of more than 100 people. Under his leadership, Casey Jones Village has consistently been named one of the Top 10 travel attractions in the State of Tennessee with more than 700,000 guests annually.
In 1978 Clark envisioned the Casey Jones Village and began work toward making that dream a reality-he was 24 at that time. Three years later he formed a partnership with the City of Jackson to help save the historic Casey Jones Home and Railroad Museum and move it to the Casey Jones Village. In the past 30 years the private management of the museum has saved the city more than 1.5 million and continues to contribute part of the proceeds back to Jackson each year.
His leadership on multiple projects continues to make a lasting impact on West Tennessee. Clark took the lead in moving the historic railcar, the Judge Milton Brown, to Jackson from Cincinnati, Ohio while also leading the way for a new 8,000 square foot expansion to the Casey Jones Museum that opened in the summer of 2009. He has also worked to save other historically important buildings preserving them for future generations to cherish. Among them a 1925 era country store that his father worked in as a young man, a 174 year old antebellum mansion and a 107 year-old church from Haywood county.
Clark has long recognized that the guests he serves are responsible for his success and believes in being involved in his community and the industry in which he earns a living. He has served as the youngest president for the Jackson Rotary Club, as state president for the Tennessee Restaurant Association and has served on the board for that association for more than 25 years. For nine years he represented Tennessee on the National Restaurant Association board and has also represented our state on the prestigious Southeast Tourism Society board of directors. In addition to this service, he has taken a lead role in the work to improve needed changes of the intersection at I-40 and Highway 45. This is a crucial entry point to our community which has major safety and economic development concerns-Clark has been the point man spearheading these changes with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Clark’s sister, Deborah Laman Shaw, states, “He is a man of the deepest character courage and faith. Ultimately whatever Clark does is to sincerely honor God and for Him to receive the glory.”
A truly humble man who continues to lead in every aspect of his life, Clark Shaw, the 2011 recipient of the Jackson Award for Leadership.
Polly has worked with many organizations through the years including the West Tennessee Cerebral Palsy Association, the Jackson Service League and the Jackson Exchange Club. In the late 1970’s when her former husband, Senator Bobby Carter, was president of the Jackson Exchange Club they attended the national convention where child abuse prevention was adopted as the national project. Polly picked up that torch and has never put it down. She and others who attended the convention were committed to opening a center in Jackson and saw that dream come to fruition in 1981. Since that time she has never ceased working to ensure the success of the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse.
Polly was the center’s very first volunteer, even when no one really knew what to do; she was light years ahead in figuring it out. She eventually became certified to train volunteers to work with the families served at the center and was a Parent Aide herself-working with children and families whose lives needing mending. She has never asked anyone to do anything she hasn’t or wouldn’t do herself. Polly has accompanied clients to court, assisted in filling out paperwork, aided in helping clients gain employment and even purchasing and delivering Thanksgiving meals to families who would not have had one otherwise.
Determined that this new non-profit would grow and prosper, Polly became active not only as a local board member, fundraiser and philanthropist, but became an advocate on the national level. She was the second woman to ever serve on the National Exchange Club Foundation board of directors and the first woman to ever address a National Exchange Club Convention. More than 25 years ago it was Polly who approached Carl Perkins and Doris “Cousin Tuny” Freeman about starting a telethon to benefit the center-a telethon she created and directed it’s first three years and that now pulls in more than $1 million annually.
One of Polly’s three nominators, Rita McCaslin, states, “We have a saying at telethon time that originated with Rusty Mac. If you’re not here for the kids-go home…Polly has never gone home.”
A Jacksonian who defines service to others and has made a lasting impact on more children and families than she will ever know, Polly Taber Carter, our 2011 Jackson Award recipient for Volunteer Service.
Pat Alford has made an indelible mark for the Arts in Jackson especially in the area of cultural arts for children. Having been employed with the City of Jackson for more than 40 years, Pat was our city’s first cultural arts director in 1977. In 1980 she was promoted to program director and two short years later to superintendent of recreation. In 2002 Pat began her work with the Ned R. McWherter West Tennessee Cultural Arts Center as director and currently serves as building manager of that facility.
In 1974 Pat founded and became director of Jackson Children’s and Teen Theatre program, a service that has offered performing arts programs to thousands of our city’s youth since its inception. Children and teens have the opportunity to perform in five productions annually including two musicals, a Christmas show and a children’s show as well as attend summer camps geared toward enhancing their performing arts abilities.
Pat’s community involvement has also reflected her love for the Arts through her work with the Jackson Theatre Guild, as an ex officio member of the Jackson Arts Council Board of Directors and as a member of the Arts Coalition Steering Committee. She is also a former member of the Tennessee Theatre Association where she served as the children’s theatre chairperson.
In recognition of Pat’s love for sharing the arts with youth she has received numerous awards and accolades. In 1984 she was awarded the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association Excellence in Cultural Arts Programming Award, in 1990 the National Recreation and Parks Association Outstanding Programming Award and in 2000 she was bestowed the Fellow Award which is the highest award given by the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association.
Advocate of the Arts and an inspiration to our youth, Pal Alford, the 2010 Jackson Award winner for The Arts.
Kathryn and Tyler Swindle
Jackson became home to Kathryn and Tyler Swindle more than 35 years ago and as Jacksonians, they have invested their time, energy and talents to ensure the success of many cultural and education organizations vital to our city.
Believing in education, literacy and the importance of a strong local library, Kathryn has long been involved with the Jackson Madison County Library having served as a board member, chairman of the board and vice chair of the library foundation board. To further strengthen their support of the Library, Dr. Swindle was instrumental as a founding board member for the Jackson Madison County Library Foundation and has also served as a board member for Friends of the Library.
As musicians and lovers of music, it is natural they have established themselves as long time supporters and volunteers for The Jackson Symphony. They are currently co-chairing the 50th anniversary season for the Symphony. It was their efforts that brought about new donors for the 50th season ensuring its success. By contacting and hosting potential supporters more than $100,000 was donated transforming this milestone season. They are both lifetime board members and have each served and led multiple committees for the symphony.
Their volunteer efforts have extended to their church and many other community organizations such as Ballet Arts, Girl Scouts, Lambuth University and Jackson Arts Council.
The efforts of The Swindles have enriched Jackson in many positive ways and provided a model for other community volunteers to follow. Our 2010 Jackson Award winners for Community Service, Kathryn and Tyler Swindle.
Bob Alvey has lived in Jackson for more than 25 years and in that time has made a substantial investment in the future of children and their education. Mr. Alvey has faithfully served as a nine year member of the Jackson Madison County School Board and currently serves as chairman of that board. He also serves as the Southwest Director for the Tennessee School Board of Directors, as the West Tennessee Director for the Tennessee Legislative Network, as a member of the Federal Relations Network of the Tennessee School Board Association and is a member of the Pre K Committee for the National School Board Association.
Having graduated two children from our public school system, Bob believed in being actively involved in each school his children attended. He served at PTO president for Pope Elementary School and Highland Park Intermediate School and led Projection Graduation for Madison Academic High School. He was also a founding member of Students First, a community advocacy group for public education.
His efforts to improve the lives of children continue through his community service efforts as well. He serves as a TALKS mentor at North Parkway Middle School and a mentor for the newly formed Madison CAN Scholarship program which assists students in realizing the dream of higher education. Mr. Alvey also serves as the director of the Jackson Area Wide Soccer program, board chairman for the Smiles and Blessing Dental Ministry program at Jackson Central Merry High School and as a Make a Difference Day Volunteer.
His efforts have not gone unnoticed as he received this year’s Distinguished Service Award from the National School Board Association and also was named to the All Tennessee School Board for 2010. He also is recognized as a Master School Board member by the Tennessee School Board Association, which is the highest level of achievement awarded.
A true champion for Jackson’s youth, Bob Alvey, our 2010 Jackson Award recipient for Education.
Dr. Jake McInnis served pediatric dental patients for more than 30 years and throughout his career made sure he had a positive impact on special needs children, adults and those who could not afford dental services.
Graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry in the late 60’s, Dr. McInnis served our nation in the United States Army before returning to complete his residency and begin his pediatric dental practice. Through his profession he was actively involved in the Seventh District Dental Society serving the society as treasurer, secretary, vice president and president. He was also active in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Tennessee Dental Association and the American Dental Association.
It was his passion to serve others, especially children, which lead to his work in establishing the Developmental Disabilities Dental Clinic in 1976. This clinic provided dental care for special needs children and adults throughout West Tennessee and was housed at the West Tennessee Cerebral Palsy Association. Through this clinic, thousands of special needs patients were seen and received high quality healthcare.
It was again his desire to serve others that led to the creation of the Health & Healing Dental Clinic in 2007 which ensures the working uninsured and special needs population of Jackson and Madison County receive basic dental services regardless of their ability to pay. Through this effort, Dr. McInnis continues to work with local dentists to provide this needed service.
It is no surprise that in 2006 the Tennessee Academy of General Dentistry presented Dr. McInnis with the Sig Gruenwald Humanitarian Award for his efforts to serve those in need.
Dr. McInnis stands as an example of service and compassion and a worthy recipient of our 2010 Jackson Award for Health Care.
Sharon Younger has been a leader in her company, her community and her profession for more than 20 years. As president and founder, she currently leads Younger Associates, LLC, a market research and strategic communications firm that provides services to businesses, economic development organizations and transportation agencies.
Founded in 1990, Younger Associates has grown from fewer than 20 clients in its first year to more than 350 active clients nationwide. Recognized nationally as a leading researcher in the field of demographic and labor market analysis, Dr. Younger and her firm have completed regional and statewide labor market analyses for clients in 22 states as well as internationally. Sharon’s work has earned her recognition from such organizations as the International Economic Development Council, the Southern Economic Development Council and the American Economic Development Council for the quality and effectiveness of work produced.
Sharon and Younger Associates have successfully completed projects that have had major regional impacts in recent years. A workforce analysis conducted for the Memphis Regional Economic Development Council became a major decision factor in Toyota’s 2007 site selection process. Toyota representatives utilized Younger Associates research data to determine the location of the new plant near Tupelo, Mississippi. Currently she and her firm are conducting economic analysis and public outreach for I-69 and I-269 in Tennessee and Mississippi as well as for the projects related to State Route 18 and US-45 southern Jackson bypass in Tennessee.
Sharon also has a passion to help young girls to develop into tomorrow’s leaders and influential women. She is active with the Girl Scouts Heart of the South where she serves on the board of directors for this 59 county council. She has also served as the fund development chair and community advisory chairperson for the West Tennessee portion of the council, which established and administers a $1 million endowment to ensure that girls in rural areas have the opportunity to become girl scouts.
Dr. Younger is a frequent speaker at national conferences for professional organizations and is an instructor for the Economic Development Institute, University of Oklahoma, Auburn University and the University of Tennessee.
According to her staff she is, “inspirational, dedicated and has a passion for what she does day in and day out.”
An example of servant hood and leadership, Sharon Younger, our 2010 Jackson Award recipient for Leadership.
Becky Fly has had three careers-one in arts management, health care management and her final career as a high school theatre teacher. In all of her occupations, volunteer service has been a cornerstone of her job.
During her three years with The Jackson Arts Council she was appointed to the Theatre Advisory Panel for the Tennessee Arts Commission. A volunteer position, she was responsible for performing on-site visits to various arts agencies who requested state grants. During her 15 years in health care management she was responsible for the volunteer structure for Procare Hospice which served a 17 county area. She also served on the board for the Rural West Tennessee Home Healthcare Association.
In 1996 she returned to her first love of teaching theatre and presently teaches at Madison Academic High School. She is currently completing her 3rd term as a board member for the Tennessee Theatre Association. Over the years, Becky has spent countless hours outside her responsibilities as a teacher coaching and instructing young people who express a desire to act professionally. She has also been actively engaged in working for the Jackson Theatre Guild for which she volunteers each year in directing, acting and costuming.
As a professional actor, Becky has appeared in more than 20 music videos and recently held roles in feature films: “Billy: The Early Years” and “The Last Exorcism.” At present, she has finished shooting scenes for “The Fields” and “The Help” which will both open in 2011.
Her passion for sharing her time and energy to build others up is commendable and makes Becky Fly the ideal recipient of the 2010 Jackson Award for Volunteer Service.
Margaret “Kakky” Tanner
Margaret “Kakky” Tanner has worked tirelessly to enhance, grow and support the arts across the State of Tennessee. She has served two separate terms as president of the Jackson Arts Council and as president of Tennesseans For the Arts, a state-wide advocacy group. She has also served a nine year term on the board of WKNO Public Television in Memphis,Tennessee.
Her leadership efforts do not end there, as a member of the Jackson Symphony board she was instrumental in starting the Pops Concert Series along with friend James Petty and worked with Ken Keim and others in beginning what is now the Starlight Symphony which brings thousands of people to the Lawn of First Presbyterian Church each year. Kakky also served on the original Keep Jackson Beautiful Commission and the State Commission for Keep Tennessee Beautiful.
Another notable project in which she played a crucial role was the Tennessee License Plates for the Arts. She along with other visionaries saw this as a way to visually support the Arts as well as provide millions of dollars of funding for the arts each year inTennessee.
BancorpSouth President Gary Grisham states, “The local arts community has benefited from the love and energy contributed over the better part of four decades by Kakky Tanner.” Nominator, Patsy Camp, states, “Kakky has inspired many volunteers because not only does she do the organizational and executive work…she volunteers to work the mundane jobs-applying address labels, working in inclement weather for festivals and events…making these times fun for all involved.”
Brenda Whalley is a native of Jackson, Tennessee. Born into an Air Force family, Brenda traveled the world before returning to Jackson to attendLambuth College, now Lambuth University. For more than a decade she has taken a leading role in serving her community.
As a member of the Jackson Symphony League she served as president, chaired the “Spirit of Christmas” Silent Auction for five years, the Symphony League Raffle for two years and the inaugural Comedy Benefit in 2009. Continuing her love for the symphony, Brenda served as president for two years of the Symphony board of directors and chaired the 2003, 2004 and 2005 Legends Benefit Concerts featuring Olivia Newton-John, The Pointer Sisters and Kenny Rogers, respectively.
Brenda has also served as a board & committee member for The Star Center, The Boys and Girls Club of Jackson, The American Heart Association and the Jackson Exchange Club. Her involvement with the Fur Ball for the Jackson Madison County Humane Society and as a past chair of the annual Heart Gala for the American Heart Association further show her dedication to serving the Jackson community.
Beyond her service to non-profits, in 2001 and 2003 Brenda served as campaign events coordinator for State Representative Jimmy Eldridge’s two successful campaigns and was honored as the 2002 Outstanding Republican Woman by the Madison County Republican Party.
Fellow Symphony Board Member, Lynn Menendez writes, “Whether it’s securing auction items for an event, or turning a cavernous room into a winter wonderland for a ball, or cleaning up late into the night after the party is over – Brenda and her husband Ed are there, working harder than anyone. Brenda, enjoy your well deserved recognition as a 2009 Jackson Award winner.”
Dr. Nancy Zambito
Dr. Nancy Zambito began her career in education more than 30 years ago as a school secretary in the Lake County Florida School System. Moving from secretary to teacher’s assistant to gifted education teacher and eventually principal in that same school district. After leaving Lake County Florida she began a 23 year career in the Pinellas County Florida School System where she was serving as deputy superintendent when she left in 2006 to began her career as superintendent of the Jackson-Madison County School System.
One of Dr. Zambito’s early initiatives in Jackson was creating the Community Task Force for Education for the purpose of researching the best educational initiatives around the U.S. and make recommendations to the school board to make our schools an excellent, world class district.
Along with the City of Jackson, Nancy also helped bring about Jumpstart Jackson, an ongoing community wellness partnership to improve the health of our children and families.
Dr. Zambito’s expertise makes her a sought-after speaker at the state and national level. In the last few years alone she has addressed educators at national conferences in Boston and in Washington D.C. She has also published articles on educational topics and taught colleges courses inFlorida and Tennessee dealing with educational policy and administration.
Dr. Connie Smith, assistant commissioner, of the State of Tennessee Department of Education states, “Dr. Zambito is showing herself to be a leader in our state regarding education. It has been a pleasure working with her as she leads your community to improving the education of your children.”
Jim Moss began his career at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital in 1981 as assistant administrator, a hospital that is now the flagship of a six hospital system. In 1986 he became president and CEO of West Tennessee Healthcare leading the hospital from small town beginnings to one of the largest community-owned hospital systems in the country-employing more than 5,500 people with a budget that now exceeds $1.1 billion annually.
Mr. Moss is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is a past chairman and board member of the Tennessee Hospital Association, a group that bestowed upon him their highest honor in 1990 by giving him the Distinguished Service Award for his effective, award-winning leadership.
Beyond his service at the state level, he served at the national level being named a board member to the American Hospital Association in 2002. In addition to his leadership role at West Tennessee Healthcare, he served as chairman of the board for United Way of West Tennessee, the Jackson Madison County Chamber of Commerce and the American Cancer Society. He also served as board chairman and charter member of Crimestoppers of Jackson.
Since retiring in 2007, Jim has continued to serve his community through his leadership role as an ordained deacon at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, including the prison ministry, the development of the adult Sunday School Classes and preaching the homily on Thursday morning mass after which, he takes Holy Communion to homebound parishioners.
Interim President and CEO of West Tennessee Healthcare Bobby Arnold states, “Jackson and the entire West Tennessee community have been blessed by the distinguished career of Jim Moss. His vision, leadership, and dedication have resulted in both growth and improved health services for West Tennessee. JMCGH and WTH have developed into one of the ten largest public not for profit health systems in the country, and in 2010 will be celebrating sixty years of service to our community. This would not have been possible with out Jim Moss…he is certainly most deserving of the award.”
Doris “Cousin Tuny” Freeman began her volunteer efforts at the tender age of 10 when she entertained the National Exchange Club Convention on the roof of the Peabody Hotel in 1935…and, she hasn’t stopped serving since. A generation of West Tennessee children grew up watching or being a part of the Cousin Tuny Show which ran from 1955-1967 on WDXI-TV, now WBBJTV7.
Her name is also synonymous with the word telethon. She served as co-emcee of the West Tennessee Cerebral Palsy Telethon from 1964-2007 and as co-emcee of the Circles of Hope Telethon for the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse from its inception in 1984 and continues in that role to this day.
Children are her true passion, her true passion. She refers to the children served at the former West Tennessee Cerebral Palsy Association as “God’s special children” remembering their names, their triumphs, their legacies and the indelible mark they have left on her.
In the past forty years, she has served on more than 25 local and state boards and continues to be a volunteer to this day. And, whiles she does not seek recognition she receives it for the efforts she so diligently supports. Some accolades include: Jackson Madison County Woman of the Year, the Golden Mic Award from American Women in Radio and TV, Thousand Points of Light Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service in 1989 from President George H.W. Bush, Sr. and was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Library in Washington D.C. in 1977 by American Women in Radio and TV.
One of Tuny’s most often heard quotes is attributed to Forest Witcraft, “One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child.” A quote she has lived and continues to live each day.
James L. Exum is a native of Jackson, “Jimmy has defined leadership in all the years that he has served in business and civic leadership,” states Carl Kirkland last year’s recipient of the Jackson Award for leadership.
A product of Jackson High School and Lambuth University, Jimmy wasted no time in securing his role as a leader in business and in vision for Jackson andMadison County. His career with the Miss Tennessee pageant starts in 1972 as producer and continues to this day where he currently serves as president of the Miss Tennessee Pageant. His vision for the pageant over the years has brought national and state attention to our city as well as millions of dollars in revenue.
He also began his civic and political duties in his early career. He has served as state chairman for the Tennessee Young Republicans, a group that named him Tennessee Young Republican of the Year in 1977, West Tennessee chairman for George Bush for President, Lamar Alexander for U.S. Senate, Re-elect Sundquist for Governor, Lamar Alexander for Governor and in 1976 served as a Tennessee Delegate to the Republican National Convention. In 1983, Jimmy co-founded TotalREACH, Inc., a local cable network in Jackson. And, today continues his successful career as Executive Vice President of Murray Guard, Inc. and Personnel Placements.
Longtime business associates and friends, Roger Murray and Buster Ferguson have this to say, “Congratulations to Jimmy Exum. His creative, motivational character and influential, friendly personality has benefited each of us in our community. He is indeed a great selection for the 2009 leadership award. Jimmy’s talent in producing the Miss Tennessee Pageant for nearly forty years has thrilled all of us. His determination for better government and his contributions to economic growth and educational improvement have helped every citizen. No one has more love for their community or more compassion for every person within this community than Jimmy Exum. He is your loyal friend from the day you meet him and a man of character second to none. His association and friendship has meant a great deal to all of us who have been so fortunate know him. Thank you Jimmy.”
Dr. Dean Currie
“Dr. Dean Currie has been tireless in his free services for the Health and Healing Clinic. His countless surgeries on those working uninsured have aided those who have gone undiagnosed or been indigent patients at the hospital. Dr. Currie is a true servant who never exhibits the need for recognition always. Dr. Currie is well respected by his fellow physicians and has set the example for how other doctors could volunteer their services.”
“Billy Worboys’ artistic talents and creativity are the driving force behind the Jackson Theatre Guild and have been for years. His tireless devotion and endless hours of volunteerism have contributed to the success of the arts for a number of years in Jackson. He has led lobbying efforts for the arts both locally and in Nashville. He encourages others to be part of the many productions which anchor the Ned McWherter Center for the Arts and is the first to share the limelight and supports others. He is a leader both on and off the stage.”
Dr. Barnett Scott
“Dr. Barnett Scott has served our community unselfishly over the years both as a practicing physician and now in retirement. He established a program to help underprivileged youth and has actively supporter the various projects of the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation. Dr. Scott didn’t have to make a commitment to the lives of the less fortunate children. He could have chosen a life of well deserved retirement–playing golf, traveling, enjoying time spent with his own family and grandchildren. But he didn’t. He made room for others in his life. He serves on the Board of the Arts Council, the Board of the Discovery Museum and the First United Methodist Church.”
“Doug Roth’s impact on others is not truly measurable. He has recruited countless volunteers to work on telethons, fundraisers, charitable causes and the list goes on and on. He expects more of himself than anyone and because of this, others are willing to serve alongside Doug when asked. Through his servant leadership, he has created other servants in Jackson.
“Doug serves on the Central Board of Directors and on the Endowment Trust Committee for the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. He chairs the Excel Club Program and the Exchange Club Tennis Tournament fundraiser. He is past Board Vice-Chair for the West Tennessee Cerebral Palsy Center and was involved in many of their annual events and fundraisers. He is a 2003 graduate of and annual volunteer for Leadership Jackson, where he is affectionately known as “Dangerous Doug.” He has also worked with the March of Dimes, serves on the Board of the Ayers Children’s Medical Centerand chaired the Exchange Club Flags of Freedom project in 2008. He also serves as County Commissioner for Madison County.”
“Carl Kirkland has been a leader in our community since the founding of his successful chain of accessory stores. He has supported many efforts inJackson after moving here from Union City and our community has prospered from his generous nature. He has taken leadership roles over the years with many organizations and causes from the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation, Lambuth University and USJ to the Humane Society and the Jackson Theatre Guild to name a few. Carl and Alice have always been supportive of their children and in the development of education opportunities for others. Carl is a leader who local, state and federal officials know and trust and call upon for advice and support.”
“Roy White has been instrumental to the growth and development of UnionUniversity. His financial support of the university has placed it in a position to place Union in the national spotlight for universities. He has been a major supporter of the Englewood Baptist Church, making possible the construction and completion of the large fellowship hall that is used by many of the community. His support of many non-profit organizations has shown his love for others, especially the less fortunate. Roy has been a spark in efforts at the Union campus as well as in Jackson and beyond. Through his charitable giving, others followed along knowing that the project would succeed.”
The West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation had the honor of announcing the 2007 Jackson Award recipients. It marks the second year that deserving individuals from our community were honored in five categories – arts, community service, healthcare, leadership, and volunteer service. Each award winner is an individual who has made a difference in society and in the individual lives of others. We believe some leaders have their acts of leadership recorded in history books while others are only written on the hearts of the people they have helped.
Each recipient of The Jackson Award has shared their time and talents with others in our community, and we are proud to recognize their many contributions. Because of them,Jackson is a better place to call home. Honorees for The Jackson Award for 2007 were : Dr. Don Lewis (Healthcare);Patsy Camp (The Arts); Roger Murray, Jr. (Leadership); Harbert Alexander, Sr. (Volunteer Service); and Vicki Lake (Community Service).
Honorees were honored at the annual Charity Gala hosted by the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation on November 10, 2007, at the Carl Perkins Civic Center.
Inaugural Jackson Awards given to ‘unsung heroes’
By JACQUE HILLMAN
The Jackson Sun
Celebrities, royalty and multi-millionaires will be rubbing shoulders at the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation’s Winter Wonderland Gala on Nov. 11 at the Carl Perkins Civic Center.
But claiming the spotlight will be five local people who will be honored with the first Jackson Awards for their dedication to making their community a better place to live.
A gala is held annually to benefit the Health and Healing Clinic of Jackson and Madison County. Each year, the Jackson Awards will be presented to individuals in these categories: business, health care, volunteer and community. The 2006 awards will go to David Fite, business; Sally Rainey, volunteer; Sen. Don McLeary, R-Jackson, community; Dr. Melvin Wright, health care; and Dr. Jim Price, community.
Frank McMeen, president of the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation, said it is important to recognize “unsung heroes from the Jackson area” with the Jackson Awards. “We look forward to this becoming an annual part of the charity gala. I don’t think you could find a more noble purpose for the gala than the Health and Healing Clinic.”
McMeen said the foundation wants to recognize the leadership of people within the community who have shared their time and talents.
“Each of the winners has given to the community in their own way,” gala general chair Libby Murphy said. “They honor us by being a part of the gala this year, beginning a tradition where the awards will be given at the annual gala.”
More than 80 of the available 94 tables have already been sold, and it is expected that the gala will raise more than $250,000 to benefit the clinic, which offers medical care to people 18 and older from the Jackson-Madison County area who are working but uninsured. Fees are paid on a sliding scale from $5 to $40, based on income. The clinic’s director is Dr. Bethany Lawrence.
The significance of the Health and Healing Clinic to the community cannot be underestimated, said Wright, who serves on the clinic board in addition to being a Jackson Award recipient. “It’s a tremendous asset to the community, especially since the disenrollment of people off TennCare. A lot of people are working, but their employers aren’t providing them any health coverage.”
Wright said people who go to the clinic are willing to pay for medical care when the charges are reasonable. The clinic will not only save the emergency room, where so many have gone for treatment, he added, “but it’s going to give those individuals a means of hope. Rather than suffering and using home remedies, they can now seek good, competent service. I give a lot of credit to Dr. Don Lewis and Frank McMeen, who have put a lot into making this clinic a reality. You cannot find a more committed doctor than Dr. Bethany Lawrence.”
When she received her letter about the award, Sally Rainey said she was stunned. “What struck me when we were looking for volunteers for the Health and Healing Clinic is the eagerness with which they came on board,” she said. “That’s the kind of community I’m blessed to be a part of, so I was very overwhelmed to receive this award.”
These award winners don’t look for praise or honor, Murphy said, but they are always trying to help others in some way.
“That’s what the Jackson Awards are about, thanking them for helping our community,” she said.