BY JOHN DUGGINS
EXCHANGE CLUB MEMBER
The Exchange Club of Greeneville honored C. Ray Adams with its 2012 Book of Golden Deeds, the Exchange Club's highest individual award for community service, at the club's Annual Awards Banquet held Thursday at Link Hills Country Club.
The Book of Golden Deeds recognizes volunteers who give unselfishly of their time and abilities to help make their communities a better place to live.
The Exchange Club of Greeneville has awarded the Book of Golden Deeds annually since 1966.
Paige Mengel, who presented the award on behalf of the Exchange Club, cited Adams' lifetime of service in education, on hospital boards, and in professional organizations.
He served on the Greeneville City Board of Education for nearly two decades and was the board chairman from the early 1980's until 1991.
He became a board member of Laughlin Memorial Hospital in 1984 and curently serves as its chairman.
He was a founding member of Laughlin Health Care Foundation and was its first chairman, and remains an active member of the Foundation board.
Adams was a founding member and played a key role in establishing the Greene County Emergency Communications District (911) in 1989 and continues to serve on its board as treasurer.
A certified public accountant, Adams was a founding partner of the accounting firm Adams and Plucker.
He served as president of the Appalachian Chapter of the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants and remains active in that organization. He has also served as a trustee of the Margaret Johnson Patterson Bartlett estate and is secretary-treasurer of the Bartlett-Patterson Corporation, a non-profit foundation that supports educational efforts to carry on the memory of President Andrew Johnson.
Mengel read a quote from Adams' nomination for the Book of Golden Deeds: "C. Ray Adams is a highly capable, humble man who touches the lives of individuals in Greeneville and Greene County in unusual and unheralded ways. He gives of himself through innate wisdom and infinite love of mankind."
MENGEL IS HONORED
Besides presenting the Book of Golden Deeds, the Exchange Club took a look back at the past year, honoring several other award winners and installing new club officers for the 2012-13 year which begins July 1.
Incoming club president Bill Onkst presented the 2012 Exchangite of the Year award to Paige Mengel.
The award is given annually to the club member who has made the greatest contribution to the success of the club.
Mengel has served two terms as club president and served as president of the Tennessee District Exchange Clubs in 2010-11.
She prepares the club bulletin each week, and after tornadoes struck the Camp Creek-Greystone area in April 2011 she organized a laundry service for tornado survivors.
GARY LAUN HONORED
The New Exchangite of the Year award, given to a member who has been in the club for two years or less, went to Gary Laun.
Outgoing president John McGuffin said that Laun, who joined the Exchange Club in 2011, had taken a lead role in the club's annual golf tournament and would be serving on the club's board of directors in the coming year.
SMITH 'YOUTH OF YEAR'
Seth Smith, a recent graduate of West Greene High School, was recognized as the 2012 Exchange Club Youth of the Year.
Steve Shore, who presented the award, explained that Smith was selected as the most outstanding of the past school year's Youth of the Month winners.
Each year the Exchange Club honors 10 students, two from each local high school, as Youths of the Month based on academic achievement, leadership, and community involvement.
From these 10 students one is chosen as Youth of the Year, receiving a plaque, a check from the Exchange Club for $1,000, and the opportunity to compete for district and national Youth of the Year honors.
Smith is the son of Arlene Large and Craig Smith. He graduated from with a 4.0 grade-point average. He is a junior member of the Greeneville Emergency and Rescue Squad and has earned his certification as an Emergency Medical Responder.
He plans to attend George Washington University to study pre-medicine, then attend medical school to become an emergency room physician.
AMBER FIELDS HONORED
The A.C.E. award (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) is presented to a graduating high school senior who has had to overcome unusual challenges or hardships to graduate.
Paige Mengel announced that this year's winner is Amber Fields, who recently graduated from South Greene High School.
In 2006, when she was 11, she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
Fields spent 14 months undergoing treatment at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, which included a bone marrow transplant.
Six years later, Amber still deals with the wide-ranging side effects of her illness and treatment.
But she plans to attend Walters State Community College in the fall, hoping to earn her associate degree and then transfer to East Tennessee State University to earn a nursing degree specializing in pediatrics.
The A.C.E. award carries with it a $1,000 award from the Exchange Club to help with her educational expenses.
Scholarship chairman Tom Vandenhoven presented the Exchange Club's 2012 winners of the Hugh Felts Memorial Community Service Scholarship, given each year to two graduating seniors.
The scholarship winners are Rachel Mawyer and Tammy Knapp, both recent graduates of Greeneville High School.
Mawyer is the daughter of Lisa Neas. She plans to attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to major in history.
Knapp, the daughter of Michael and Lori Knapp, plans to attend East Tennessee State University and major in criminal justice and Spanish.
Both students will receive a total of $4,000 over four years.
McGuffin, the outgoing club president, honored several long-time Exchange Club members for achieving membership milestones this year.
The most notable honoree was Hugh Wells, who was recognized for 55 years of membership, making him the club's longest-serving current member.
Other members honored were Bob Southerland, 45 years; John Kilday, 40 years; Kidwell King, 35 years; Gregg Jones, 35 years; Tommy Haun, 30 years; Bill Riley, 25 years; Jo Ella Moore, 20 years; and Bill Onkst, 10 years.
In his final remarks to the club, McGuffin thanked the members for a successful year.
He pointed out that the club had added eight new members during the year and that its two fundraisers had raised about $31,000, almost all of which went to support the club's youth and child abuse prevention programs.
McGuffin said that he had first been president of the Exchange Club in 1976 when the club had a membership of more than 100. At present the club has about 50 members. He maintained that the current club accomplishes more, raises more money, and carries out more projects with 50 members than the 1976 club did with more than twice as many.
The club's new officers for the coming year were installed by Tennessee District Exchange Clubs past president Paige Mengel.
The new officers for 2012-13 are president, Bill Onkst; president-elect, Joyce Doughty; secretary, Steve Shore; treasurer, Bill Riley; and immediate past president, John McGuffin.
Members of the 2012-13 board of directors are Steve Cook, Angel Knowlton, Bob Southerland, Wess duBrisk, Lee House, and Gary Laun.
The Exchange Club of Greeneville, founded in 1929, is a service organization that carries out projects in four areas: youth, Americanism, community service, and the prevention of child abuse.
The club's largest project is the annual Exchange Club Field Day, an athletic competition that involves more than 2,000 elementary students from all the local schools.
The club is also a major financial supporter of the Child Advocacy Center in Mosheim, which provides support for victims of child abuse caught up in the legal system.
The Exchange Club meets weekly each Tuesday at noon at Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
For further information: John Duggins 639-4705 or 767-6538