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Record honors public service

By Kayla Carter
Staff Writer
[email protected]
The Erwin Record’s sixth annual Records of Service awards ceremony continued its tradition of recognizing outstanding service to the community.
The ceremony was held Thursday night at Unicoi United Methodist Church in Unicoi; community leaders were nominated by their peers for recognition.
Six individuals won awards in categories of business, education, emergency services, health care, community service and public service.
The town of Unicoi also used the gathering to honor its 2012 Sam Leedy Award winner, Lesia Willis.
Town of Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch said Willis’ work with the historical committee, the Bogart-Bowman cabin and fundraising with Friends in Knead earned her the recognition.
“Lesia Willis has proved herself to be a good neighbor,” he said. “She’s always available for any task at hand.”
Keith Whitson, publisher of The Erwin Record, continued the ceremony by announcing the Record of Service winners.
Kevin Horton was recognized as the winner in the business category.
“Sometimes we know the least about those who do the most,” said Whitson. “Kevin Horton is one of those individuals who gives so much and yet seems to stay out of the public eye.”
Horton aided tornado victims in Greene County, secured funds for the new awning at the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital and made many other donations through his company, Liberty Lumber/Ace Hardware.
Evangeline Hunter, the Unicoi County High School band director, received the Record of Service award in education.
Whitson said Hunter’s nomination reflected high praise. “Evangeline is a dedicated band director,” he said. “The students respect and appreciate what she gives them each day. She puts all she has into making the band the best it can be.”
Hunter was recognized as aiding in band fundraising by being active with the annual spaghetti supper.
Sandy Garrabrant accepted Hunter’s award on her behalf.
Jimmy Erwin, who works with the Unicoi County DARE program, was announced as the winner of the award in emergency services.
Whitson referenced the different titles Erwin carries.
“In addition to his work with DARE, Jimmy has also been a volunteer fireman, a member of the Unicoi County Commission, chairman of the Board of Southside Volunteer Fire Department and a member of the Unicoi County Hospital Board – among others,” Whitson said. “Those sending the letters believe that the county is very fortunate to have Jimmy Erwin working in our community.”
Dr. James Goss with Appalachian Orthopedics Associates was selected as the health care category winner.
Whitson said Goss could be found along the sidelines of many local sporting events in case a child is injured.
“Each year his staff assist with physicals for the middle and high school athletes and ROTC students,” Whitson said. “The students are charged $5 for these physicals, but all of the money remains in the school system in the general athletic fund.”
Goss maintains offices in Erwin and Johnson City. His clinic, Whitson said, has surpassed the community’s expectations.
Helen Edwards received the Record of Service award for the category of service to the community.
Whitson said Edwards is always willing to aid any organization or person in the community who may need her. “If anyone needs help, Helen is ready to step up to the plate, and assist in whatever way she can,” Whitson said.
Edwards volunteers at the Salvation Army, provides transportation for those without any, and is a member of the Flag Pond Ruritan and Jennie Moore Presbyterian Church.
Sarah Bailey, Unicoi County administrator of elections, received the Record of Service award in the category of public service for her work in the election commission office.
Whitson said Bailey is quick to find answers to any question. “She is always willing to work with people who need explanations or detailed answers requiring research,” Whitson said.
Bailey is in the Erwin Kiwanis Club, a former Kiwanis playground committee member, member of the YMCA Board of Directors and participated in the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce leadership class.
The Erwin Record announced that the annual award ceremony proceeds will go to a different charitable organization each subsequent year it is held.
This year’s proceeds from the awards ceremony will be donated to the Veteran’s Park Memorial fund.
The committee’s chairman, George Hatcher, spoke in thanks for the donation.