The Tigrett Award
The Tigrett Award, first given in 2006, was established to honor Jackson native, John Burton Tigrett. Tigrett was well known for his world renowned entrepreneurship and philanthropy. The Tigrett Award was endowed by Fred Smith of Federal Express and serves to recognize a Tennessean who has greatly contributed to society through his/her talents and leadership locally, nationally, and abroad.
Songwriter, Performer, and Rockabilly Legend
Called one of the architects of rock & roll, Carl Perkins is a songwriter, performer, and rockabilly legend. A native Tennessean, who grew up in a sharecropping family near Tiptonville, Perkins learned to both pick cotton and learned play the guitar. In the mid-1940s, he kicked off his musical career and began performing with his siblings, Jay and Clayton, as the Perkins Brothers Band. Perkins was heavily influenced by bluegrass legend Bill Monroe and right on track with Elvis Presley in the synthesis of rock and roll. After hearing Presley’s debut single “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” Perkins and his brothers auditioned for Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records. A few months later, he released his first single “Movie Magg.”
A highlight of his career, Perkins released a smash hit that quickly grew to become a signature song of the rockabilly genre – “Blue Suede Shoes.” The song’s popularity was reflected as an across-the-board chart hit and topped on the pop, R&B, and country charts. “Blue Suede Shoes” was a rockabilly success and was even covered by Elvis Presley. Over the years, the song has been performed by countless musicians, including John Lennon and Buddy Holly.
As a heavy influencer and friend of the Beatles, Perkins supervised the recording of five of his songs by the band. In addition to the Beatles, Ricky Nelson, Johnny Burnette, and Patsy Cline, among others, covered his songs. Perkins continued his career and went on tour with Johnny Cash. He wrote songs and played guitar for Cash until he began his journey as a solo artist. Perkins will be forever honored as a member of the Million Dollar Quartet along with fellow rock ‘n’ roll music legends Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Even as an international rockabilly star, Perkins was also a constant supporter of the Jackson community. In 1981, he worked with organizers to establish the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. Today the center serves multiple counties across West Tennessee.
In honor of his contributions to rock ‘n’ roll, Perkins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. After surviving throat cancer in 1992, Perkins continued to write and record. Over the years, he wrote and performed with the Judds and Dolly Parton. His final album “Go, Cat, Go!” included well-known artists Willie Nelson, John Fogerty, Paul Simon, and Tom Petty. Perkins’ autobiography, “Go, Cat, Go! The Life and Times of Carl Perkins, the King of Rockabilly” was published in 1994 by David McGee. Although Carl passed away in 1998, he will always be remembered as the King of Rockabilly.
Bill and Carol Latimer
Army Veteran, Philanthropists, Founders of Bill and Carol Latimer Foundation
Bill Latimer married Carol in 1993, three years after Carol moved from her family farm to Bill’s native hometown in Union City. Together they have served as leading philanthropists for education, missions, and healthcare in West Tennessee including other national and international causes. After graduating from the University of Tennessee Knoxville with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering in 1960, Bill served in the army as First Lieutenant. Carol graduated from Obion County Central High School in 1970. She began her career working for companies such as Waterfield Grain Company, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Farm Bureau in Obion County. Carol retired in 1995 and soon transitioned her focus toward philanthropic endeavors along with her husband.As post-secondary graduates, Bill and Carol are no strangers to education and their continued support for this cause has provided numerous individuals with opportunities to learn. In 2003, they funded the Obion County Public Library as the lead donor. Bill was elected to serve three four-year terms for the Union City Board of Education. They also assisted more than 200 high school graduates with their no interest loan program. In addition, Carol currently serves as the secretary for the Obion County Public Library Enrichment Foundation and is a board member for Teach Every Nation.
As active supporters of ministry and missions, the Latimers funded Asbury Theological Seminary’s Kalas Scholarship Program, which has helped to educate over 100 seminary students and provide townhouses for students who are married. They offered financial support to “Teach Every Nation,” a missionary project in Africa. In addition, Bill and Carol have been active members of First United Methodist Church in Union City for the past 25 years. Bill formerly served as chairman of the church’s Administrative Board, and Carol helped complete 1500 shoe boxes for the Samaritan’s Operation Christmas Child. Along with serving as treasurer for the Upper Room Sunday School Class for 22 years, Carol was also part of the church’s bereavement meal committee.
Together the Latimers have earned numerous awards in recognition for their continual service and support. Bill received the Honorary Doctor of Humanities and the Robert E. Greg Service Award from Union University. He also received the University of Tennessee Philanthropist of the Year Award and the Chancellor’s Award of University Service from the University of Tennessee Martin. Meanwhile, Carol was awarded the 2014 Eagle Scout Honoree for the West Tennessee Area Council of Boys Scouts of America and The Army National Guard Team Medal for sending packages to the Union City 913 National Guard.
Bill and Carol also started the Bill and Latimer Foundation, a non-profit organization in Union City that provides a college loan program, church grants, and additional financial resources. They have three sons — William, Michael and Douglas.
U.S. Senator, and Former Mayor of Chattanooga
Bob Corker began his career in construction, starting his own company with $8,000 in his savings at the age of 25. He eventually expanded operations to 18 states across the country. He went on to become Tennessee’s commissioner of finance and the Mayor of Chattanooga. In 2006, he was elected to represent the state of Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.He is currently serving his second term as Senator and serves on four Senate committees: Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Budget; and Special Committee on Aging. He is the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and in his time in Congress has visited over 70 countries to gain a deeper understanding of the strategic relationships between the U.S. and other nations. He has also had a sizable positive impact on our nation’s fiscal challenges. He has been one of the few members of Congress to create a bill that would ultimately help curb our government spending and set us on a path towards financial stability.
More recently, Senator Corker has been recognized for his continuous efforts to abolish modern slavery. He introduced a bold, bipartisan legislation to help end slavery and human trafficking around the globe, known as the End Modern Slavery Initiative. This legislation authorized funding for a non-profit grant-making foundation to financially support the freeing and recovery of modern slavery victims, prevention of modern slavery, and the enforcement of laws to punish individuals and corporate perpetrators of modern slavery. It was included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 (NDAA), which was passed by the Senate before being signed by the president on December 8, 2016. The goal of this bill was to reduce modern slavery by 50 percent in areas the foundation operates.
Senator Corker is married to Elizabeth, and they have two daughters, Emily and Julia.
Musician, Producer, Publisher, Industry Consultant
With a creative mind and rhythmic sounds, Norbert Putnam’s contributions to both music and society have left their impact on Tennessee.
Originally from the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama, Norbert knew from an early age that his calling was the music industry. Despite a large amount of parental concern, Norbert’s first gig took off when he played bass on some of the first records that established Muscle Shoals as a recording destination. After he and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section were asked to open for the first Beatle’s concert in Washington, D.C., Norbert made the move to Nashville to master his craft. Once in Nashville, he became the region’s busiest pop-rock bassist—playing on over nine thousand recordings with artists such as Henry Mancini, Al Hirt, Tony Joe White, JJ Cale, Loretta Lynn, Chet Atkins, Bobby Goldsboro, Roy Orbison, and Elvis Presley.
In 1970, Norbert and David Briggs opened Quadrafonic Studio and formed Danor Music Publishing. That same year, Danor Music Publishing was asked to record the Joan Baez album that included the song “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” After the hit sold over a million copies, artists such as the great Jimmy Buffet and Dan Fogelberg came calling on his services.
In the 1980s, Norbert moved to Franklin, Tennessee and opened “The Bennett House” studios, a pioneering effort that would bring more than seventy studios to the region. Just years later, he joined forces with long time friend Danny Purcell and formed “Georgetown Masters,” which ultimately became one of the top five mastering rooms in the United States.
Norbert has enjoyed many types of recognition, including induction into The Alabama Music Hall of Fame and serving two terms on its Board of Governors. Former State of Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen signed a unanimous Senate proclamation that acknowledges his contribution to Tennessee music.
Recently, Norbert and his wife Sheryl have moved to Florence, Alabama, and are in the process of restoring an 1826 home in the downtown area. While the accolades continue to build up, Norbert also continues to further his career—both as a musician and a mentor. His book “Music Lessons” will be published in the fall of 2016. In the coming months, you will also see him back on stage with A Band of Legends, a group of studio musicians who backed up a majority of the great recording acts from the last five decades of American music.
Jenny D. and Robert E. Kirkland
Benefactors of the Discovery Park of America
Although Robert and Jenny Kirkland were not born in Union City, both moved to the area at a very young age and love the rural Northwest Tennessee community they have now called home for decades.Robert graduated from Union City High School in 1956 and went on to enroll in the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where he studied business, economics and accounting. Jenny also graduated from Union City High School, but their age difference met they never interacted much during their school years. But a phone call from Jenny to Robert for his assistance in planning a reunion for Union City High School students lead to the couple’s beginnings. After meeting for lunch to discuss reunion plans, the two went on a date, and after one week, Robert asked Jenny to marry him. The two have been inseparable ever since and will celebrate 50 years of marriage next year.
The couple initially lived in Nashville where Robert operated a Ben Franklin store his parents owned. He then learned of an opportunity to acquire a local John Simmons retail store, which sold gifts and home décor items. Partnering with his cousin, Carl Kirkland, Robert opened two more stores in Tennessee and then expanded into North Carolina. The chain grew to thirteen stores across the Southeast and was rebranded as Kirkland’s.
Robert and Jenny missed their hometown and moved back to Union City in 1971. He continued to perfect his business model and the Kirkland’s chain quickly grew to include 300 stores. During this same time, he and Carl formed CBK Ltd., which sold home décor and gift items throughout the United States and around the world, all shipped from a distribution center in Union City, Tennessee.
By the late 1990’s, he and Jenny decided to sell their business holdings and concentrate on their philanthropic efforts. The two established the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation and focused on improving conditions for young people in Obion County. They also funded the Promethean Foundation, which provides free daycare services for at-risk children from birth to age five in Obion County. Each year, they partner with local high schools and the Union City Rotary Club to provide funding for eight students to travel to Europe and explore new cultures and languages.
Around 2005, the Kirklands began discussing a vision for a large-scale project that would bring the world to Union City. They donated more than $100 million to make their vision a reality. Robert worked with the world’s leading architects and designers to create Discovery Park of America. The couple also provided a generous endowment to ensure the facility will have sufficient operating and expansion funds in perpetuity.
Discovery Park, opened in 2013, is an interactive learning facility offering a glimpse of the world from the Paleozoic Era to modern day space travel. The 50-acre site includes the three-level Discovery Center, a log cabin village and an early 20th Century town. During its inaugural year, Discovery Park of America welcomed more than 300,000 guests from across America and the world. The facility continues to add new exhibits and features a series of traveling exhibits and special programs throughout the year.
James W. Ayers
FirstBank Chairman of the Board and Founder of The Ayers Foundation
Jim Ayers grew up in rural West Tennessee in the town of Parsons. As a child, he was introduced by his parents to the rewards of an honest day of hard work. A 1961 graduate of Parsons High School, Jim Ayers received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in accounting from Memphis State University, becoming one of the first in his family to attend college. He never forgot the lessons he learned as a young boy. In fact, he has thrived on them as he went on to become one of the state’s most successful and admired businessmen and a leading philanthropist.Ayers has remained in constant touch with his roots. After building successful health care and real estate ventures, Ayers and a business partner bought Farmers State Bank in Scotts Hill in 1984. After moving the home office to Lexington in 1986 and acquiring First National Bank of Lexington; Ayers changed the bank’s name to FirstBank and also became its sole owner. Since then, the bank has grown tremendously, in terms of both assets and the impact it has had on the communities it serves. It is Tennessee’s largest independently owned and operated bank, with more than $2 billion in total assets and more than 40 locations.
In 1999, he established The Ayers Foundation, which supports a wide range of programs and institutions with an emphasis on education in Henderson and Perry Counties, as well as his home county of Decatur. He also established and funded the expansion of children’s services at West Tennessee Healthcare now known as Ayers Children’s Medical Center. He provided a gifts to establish the Ayers Institute at Vanderbilt University, which conducts advanced cancer research; and The Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation at Lipscomb University. Mr. Ayers participated in the development of Jennings Hall at Union University (named after his maternal grandparents) as well as the development of Union’s Hendersonville campus.
In addition to his business interests, he is active in a number of civic, educational and charitable organizations. He was the recipient of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2007 Philanthropist of the Year Award, the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America, the Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award from The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Memphis.
Lady Vols Head Coach Emeritus
Collegiate Sports Legend and Head Coach Emeritus of the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers Pat Head Summitt is being honored with the Tigrett Award at the 23rd Annual West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation’s Charity Gala on Saturday, November 10, 2012.A consummate taskmaster, she has kept her elite program in the winner’s circle for almost four decades, producing a mind-boggling record of 1,098-208 (.840). During her tenure, the Lady Vols have won eight NCAA titles, as well as an amazing 32 Southeastern Conference tournament and regular season championships. Tennessee has made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and produced 12 Olympians, 20 Kodak All-Americans named to 34 teams, and 77 All-SEC performers. Along with the success on the court, Summitt’s student-athletes have tremendous productivity in the classroom. Coach Summitt has a 100 percent graduation rate for all Lady Vols who have completed their eligibility at Tennessee.
Her honors and achievements over the years number in the hundreds. The Sporting News named the 50 Greatest Coaches of All-Time. Summitt was voted the 11th best of all-time and was the only woman on the list. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in June of 1999, into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in October of 2000, and was the third member of the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame in June of 2011.
More recently, the United States Sports Academy awarded Summitt its 2011 Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award. Also in October of last year, The Huffington Post named Summitt a 2011 Game Changer – an innovator, leader and role model who is changing the way we look at the world and the way we live in it. The Tennessee Communication Association selected Summitt for its most prestigious award, Communicator of the Year.
The honors continued. Among those was Summitt being announced by President Barack Obama as the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on April 19, 2012. She also earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports & Nutrition on May 3. Additionally, she has been announced as the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame’s 2012 Tennessean of the Year and the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which will be presented on July 11 at the 2012 ESPYs.
Summitt, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history (men or women), ended her 38th campaign with eight NCAA Championships in the trophy case, including her most recent back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008.
Summitt stands alone at the 1,000-victory plateau among all NCAA coaches, having passed the 900-win club members retired Don Meyer (923-324, .746) of Northern State, NCAA Div. II; Herb Magee (922-366, .715; still active at Philadelphia Univ., NCAA Div. II); retired Bob Knight (902-317, .706) and Jody Conradt (900-307, .746).
On Aug. 22, 2011, Summitt courageously revealed the toughest opponent she will ever have to battle, early onset dementia, “Alzheimer’s type,” after the doctors at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed her at the age of 59. To be sure, Summitt intends to take on this opponent with her signature game plan.
Past Tigrett Award recipients include: Fashion Designer and Philanthropist Pat Kerr Tigrett, United States Senator and Ambassador Howard Baker, Actress Dixie Carter, Television Personality Wink Martindale, Legendary singer Brenda Lee and United States Senator Lamar Alexander.
U.S. Senator and Former Tennessee Governor
United States Senator Lamar Alexander is being honored with the Tigrett Award at the 22nd Annual West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation Charity Gala on Saturday, November 12, 2011.The Tigrett Award, first given in 2006, was established to honor Jackson native, John Burton Tigrett. Tigrett was well known for his world renowned entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
Alexander was born in Maryville, the son of a kindergarten teacher and an elementary school principal. He is a seventh generation Tennessean.
He has served as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference for four years and is the ranking Republican on both the energy appropriations subcommittee and rules committee and co-chairman of the TVA caucus. He served as governor of Tennessee from 1979-1987. He is the first Tennessee governor elected to consecutive four-year terms and the only Tennessean ever popularly elected both governor and U.S. senator.
Senator Alexander has served as U.S. secretary of education, University of Tennessee president, and as a professor at Harvard’s School of Government. He chaired the National Governors’ Association and President Reagan’s Commission on Americans Outdoors. In 1987, he helped found Corporate Child Care Management, Inc. which is now known as Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc. It has become the nation’s largest provider of worksite day care.
In his campaign for governor, Lamar Alexander walked 1,000 miles across Tennessee in his now famous red and black plaid shirt. Once elected, he helped Tennessee become the third largest auto producer and the first state to pay teachers more teaching well.
He is a classical and country pianist and the author of seven books, including Six Months Off, the story of his family’s life in Australia after governorship. Alexander and Honey Buhler were married in 1969. They have four children and four grandchildren. He serves as a Presbyterian elder.
Past Tigrett Award recipients include: fashion designer and philanthropist, Pat Kerr Tigrett; United States Senator and Ambassador, Howard Baker; actress, Dixie Carter, television personality, Wink Martindale; and legendary singer, Brenda Lee.
It is with pride and admiration we honor Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee icon and American patriot, as the recipient of the 2011 Tigrett Award.
She stands all of four feet and nine inches tall, but if you’ve ever heard Brenda Lee sing a song you know she is a musical giant. In the industry and around the world she is known as “Little Miss Dynamite”, taken from her fourth radio single “Dynamite” a nickname given because of her explosive stage act. She began singing as young as five years old, winning her first talent contest, which led to local radio and television appearances in the Atlanta area. It wasn’t until February of 1956 that Brenda would receive her first big break and thus the beginning of a long and lauded music career spanning some 50+ years.Brenda turned down an opportunity to make $30 as a guest on a radio program to go and see one of her favorite entertainers, country music singer Red Foley. Foley was visiting the Augusta area with his ABC-TV show “Ozark Jubilee.” After meeting Foley, Brenda was allowed to join him on stage to sing a song. She performed “Jambalaya” which would later become her first single and many more songs before leaving the stage with the crowd shouting for more. Foley said, “The way I stood back and enjoyed watching her work I felt guilty for not going out to the box office and buying a ticket.”
After performing at this concert Brenda was offered a guest spot on the “Ozark Jubilee” and on March 31 of that same year she made her first network television appearance. After seeing Brenda perform on the “Ozark Jubilee” Jack O’Brien, a New York columnist, opened his TV review for the Journal American by saying, “I didn’t catch the name of that 9-year-old singer on last night’s Ozark Jubilee, but she belts a song like a star.” This appearance led to Brenda becoming a regular on the show as well as a guest on many other national TV shows. A few short months after her first spot on television, Brenda was signed to Decca Records where she remained an artist for nearly 30 years.
Her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry came in December of 1957, a night in which she would share the stage with a young Elvis Presley. Her first album was released in August of 1958 and her first top ten record followed in 1959 with “Sweet Nothin’s”. 1960 saw the release of Brenda’s biggest selling single, her first number one and first gold record with “I’m Sorry.” This release stayed in the Top 100 for more than six months and by the end of that year was a huge international hit making the 16-year-old girl a world-wide sensation.
That same year saw the re-release of a little known song Brenda had cut in 1958 “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree.” It had been released to radio and had failed to chart in either 1958 or 1959. Upon its second release it became a huge hit nationally and internationally and is her second biggest selling record of all time. To this day it remains a classic holiday standard and is listed at #4 on the all-time list of popular seasonal records.
Brenda continued to enjoy success in many genres beyond the 1960’s and into the 1980’s. She has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and charted in more categories – including pop, rhythm & blues, rock, easy listening and country – than any other women in the history of recorded music. In 1997 she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, in 2002 she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and in 2009 she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
It is with great pride that we honor a true living legend, Brenda Lee, as our 2010 Tigrett Award recipient.
Host for TV and Radio Shows
In the history of TV game shows, no name is more synonymous with “host” than Wink Martindale – the man who has guided 19 broadcast network, national cable and syndicated TV games. He has hosted more game shows than anyone in TV history except for Bill Cullen.Winston C. Martindale – nicknamed “Wink” by a neighborhood pal – was born and raised in Jackson, Tennessee – the only member of his family of seven to be in broadcasting.
“I guess I broke the mold” he laughs. “I think I was born with a desire to be a radio announcer. I always had that great desire to sit behind a microphone.”
After years of pestering his Sunday School teacher – who happened to manage one of the local radio stations – Wink auditioned for WPLI at age 17. He got the job just three months before graduating from Jackson High School. His first salary was $25 a week doing “absolutely everything.”
With persistence and study he soon graduated to ever-larger stations in Jackson and, eventually, to the “big time” at WHBQ in Memphis, the station he faithfully listened to as a teenager. In no time he found himself a popular local radio announcer and eventually a television personality for WHBQ-TV, as well.
Success in Memphis led to hosting radio and television programs for KHJ in Los Angeles. Then along came Dot Records, the Ed Sullivan Show, and a series of hosting game shows including “What’s That Song?,” “Can You Top This?,” “Tic Tac Dough,” and “Trivial Pursuit,” among many others. Additionally, for 12 years, Wink hosted “Music of Your Life,” a daily three-hour radio show heard over 200 stations, which featured music from the forties through the eighties.
In June of 2006, Wink was honored with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It can be found between those of Suzanne Sommers and Tom Hanks on Hollywood Boulevard. This year, he received the Game Show Congress’ Ralph Edwards Award for career community service.
We’re proud to honor native Jacksonian, Wink Martindale, as the 2009 Tigrett Award Recipient.
Actress, Singer, Writer and Producer
Dixie Virginia Carter was born in McLemoresville, Tennessee on May 25, 1939 to Halbert Leroy Carter and Esther Virginia Hillsman Carter. She graduated as valedictorian of her high school class and attended Memphis State University where she received a degree in English and was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority. In 1981, while filming the Emmy-nominated CBS-TV movie, “The Killing of Randy Webster,” she met and later married Emmy winner and Oscar Nominee, Hal Holbrook.Ms. Carter’s distinguished career includes acting, singing, writing and producing. Her most popular role was that of Julia Sugarbaker on the hit television series, “Designing Women” from 1986 – 1993. She also starred as Randi King on the Emmy-nominated CBS series “Family Law” from 1999 – 2002. Her other credits include numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway stage performances, authoring the 1996 book- “Trying to Get to Heaven: Opinions of a Tennessee Talker,” and guest starring on various television shows. In 2007, Dixie received an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Gloria Hodge on the acclaimed ABC series, “Desperate Housewives.”
Throughout her career, Dixie has never forgotten her West Tennessee roots. In 2005, she and Hal helped to fund and develop The Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center and the Hal Holbrook Theatre inHuntington, Tennessee.
It is with pride that we recognize and honor Dixie Carter as the recipient of the 2008 Tigrett Award.
Former Ambassador to Japan and U.S. Senator
Former Ambassador to Japan and U.S. Senator, Howard Baker, will be honored as the recipient of the 2007 Tigrett Award bestowed by the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation. This distinguished award was created to honor native Tennesseans who have made significant contributions to our world locally, nationally and internationally. Baker will be given the award at the Foundation’s annual Charity Gala on Saturday, November 10.”An Evening in the Imperial Palace is a salute to Japan, the number one foreign investor in our state with more than 160 facilities,” said Libby Murphy, gala co-chair. “Today we welcome several Japanese based companies to West Tennessee, the families they bring with them, and the opportunities they provide those who live here. It is a fitting tribute to Senator Baker who will receive this year’s Tigrett Award and who served as the Ambassador to Japan.”
The evening will include a cocktail reception, silent auction, a seated dinner, awards presentation, and stellar entertainment. Special guests for the event include actress and artist Jane Seymour, whose art work will be available for purchase throughout the evening, her husband actor/producer James Keach and singer/songwriter BJ Thomas, who will perform as part of the evening’s entertainment venue.
This year’s event will benefit the Ayers Children’s Medical Center and the Health and Healing Clinic. The Ayers Children’s Medical Center offers a host of services including neonatal and pediatric medical care and early intervention services for children with special needs. The Health and Healing Clinic offers high quality, compassionate healthcare to the working uninsured of Madison County.