Honoring the work of two local volunteers

D. Gary Davis
Posted 3/13/18

Each year, Bradley County is honored to nominate, and to also recognize publicly, two individuals who exemplify the “Volunteer Spirit” that is alive and well across our local community. This is …

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Honoring the work of two local volunteers


Each year, Bradley County is honored to nominate, and to also recognize publicly, two individuals who exemplify the “Volunteer Spirit” that is alive and well across our local community.

This is done by participating in the Tennessee Governor’s Volunteer Star Award program. Tennessee's GVSA is an initiative from Volunteer Tennessee that seeks to recognize outstanding volunteers from each of Tennessee's 95 counties.  

With the program now it its 10th year, participating counties conduct a call for nominations and recognize one outstanding youth and one outstanding adult volunteer. 

Our two local nominees were recognized at the statewide ceremony that was held in Franklin on Sunday. It honored and celebrated volunteerism in Tennessee. Our adult nominee for this year’s program was Mr. “T” Arnold Ferguson and our youth nominee for this year’s program was Ms. Emily Harris.

Mr. Ferguson currently serves with the American Red Cross, and he has done so for 56 years. This is not a misprint. He has served with them for more than half a century.

His duties are currently to oversee the utilization and access of Volunteer Connection, the official American Red Cross volunteer management system. He is the expert in all database functions, and provides guidance and training to volunteers.

This is the critical site that all new volunteers come through, and all meetings and training are coordinated through. All disaster management is performed through this program as well.

As a member of one of the first teams to work within a national Red Cross database, he is an incredible resource for the staff and volunteers at the local level. He has a unique skill set and experience that have made him one of the top in this field, both locally and across the entire nation.

His skills and experience help to set him apart, but his approachable nature and his always helpful attitude truly help make him a very valuable local treasure.

Thank you Jaynese Waddell for your nomination of this amazing volunteer and local citizen as Bradley County's adult nominee for the GVSA honor.

Ms. Emily Harris is currently a senior at Bradley Central High School and has desired to make a  positive impact on others. She said she has found that opportunity through service, learning and volunteering opportunities.

Emily serves on the Student Leadership Team with South Cleveland Church of God in helping coordinate events in partnership with other nonprofit organizations in Bradley County.

She has been a member of the Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership Program. She has helped to raise money for Habitat for Humanity, volunteered at their ReStore, and served with the Tennessee Teens Talk Tobacco Group to encourage peers to avoid tobacco use.

And in her “spare time,” she also serves on her school's Student Council. She's in the National Honor Society, Bradley Central High School’s Student Body president, and is secretary for the school’s Interact Club to further help actively raise funds, awareness and items for various community efforts.

She has served as an active volunteer for Celebrate Recovery Celebration Place to help mentor children who have experienced drug-addicted, broken homes and also with the Royal Family Kids Camp within her church that provides a camp for children in foster care.

And lastly, she was Bradley County government’s first service-learning placement, senior intern. This activity gave her valuable and real-world experience in the future possibilities that she may pursue as she enters the workforce.

Thank you Dr. Linda Cash and Patrick Spangler for your nomination of Emily as the Bradley County youth nominee for the GVSA recognition.

A common thread of "service above self" is evident in these two nominees. Though they may be separated by age, serving at one location for a long time, or at many locations for a lesser amount of time, the ability to find a need and then work with others to find a solution successfully is readily witnessed in the lives of both.

Thank you, Mr. Ferguson and Emily, for your work to make a positive difference in our community. Your efforts, joined by the many others across our community, continue to make Bradley County, Tennessee at its best!


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