Cleveland’s WCLE radio station — Mix 104.1 — has been honored by the Tennessee General Assembly’s House of Representatives for receiving the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame’s Luther Award in recognition of the money the station raises each year for the Empty Stocking Fund.
The Luther Award was named for the late Luther Masingill, a longtime Chattanooga radio personality.
The House passed the resolution, which was sponsored by state Reps. Dan Howell and Mark Hall, on June 8.
The charitable campaign was established locally in 1975 and is a combination of several philanthropic efforts, including The Christmas Party for Children, which was created in 1947 by the Rev. M.E. Littlefield and Mrs. M.E. Littlefield and the Creating Christmas Memories Foundation, started by Cleveland businesswoman and philanthropist Brenda Lawson.
Steve Hartline, who owns WCLE, is the grandson of Littlefield.
The resolution was presented to Hartline during his morning radio show on Friday.
Present during the broadcast were Mayor Emeritus Tom Rowland and his wife Sandra Rowland, who launched the original Empty Stocking Fund when they owned WCLE; Tennessee state Sens. Mike Bell and Todd Gardenhire; Tennessee state Reps. Dan Howell and Mark Hall; local attorney James F. Logan Jr.; Brenda Lawson; and Life Care Centers of America President Beecher Hunter.
Hartline said he was honored by the recognized by the state House.
“We are being honored with the Luther Massengill Award, which is for being the top fundraiser of the year for radio in the state,” he said, adding that the Empty Stocking Fund was founded by Tom Rowland, Sandra Rowland and Bobby Taylor.
"We have carried it on with partner Brenda Lawson in joining Christmas Memories and the Empty Stocking Fund together, but it's all about the people of the community.”
Last year, the Empty Stocking Fund raised more than $120,000.
“We’ve got to thank the hundreds of people and our staff who make this possible,” Hartline said. “It’s a year-round project."