Community First Award Winners Announced

Posted on February 24, 2017

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – The results are in! The Community First Awards Committee received approximately 75 nominations seeking to honor individuals across nine categories. Nominations were judged based on the nominees’ extraordinary commitment of time, talent or treasure to the community. There were a total of nine winners for the individual categories.
  “After a very successful inaugural event, we are thrilled to have another outstanding group of Community First Award honorees,” stated Dr. Bill Seymour, CSCC President. “Each in their own special way exemplifies the value of always putting your community first. We look forward to honoring them at our Gala and identifying one as the Community First Person of the Year.”
The committee met recently following a review of all the nomination materials. They voted on their top candidates for each category, as well as the one person who will be identified as the Community First Person of the Year. The Person of the Year will not be revealed until the Community First Gala on March 30.
  The categories and winners are as follows:

● Arts:
Mary Beth Wickes
Director of Accompanying, Lee University School of Music, Cleveland, TN

● Business:
Debbie Melton
General Manager/Partner, Don Ledford Automotive Center, Cleveland, TN

● Education:
Jonathan Pierce
  Career and Technical Education Supervisor, Athens, TN

● Healthcare:
Ron Coleman
  Entrepreneur, Former Partner, Surgical Associates of Cleveland, Cleveland, TN

● Non-Profit Leadership:
   Julie Thornton, President, Ocoee River Jam Music and Arts Festival, Ocoee, TN

● Philanthropy:
Brenda Lawson
President and CEO of Lawson and Associates Cleveland, TN

●  Public Service:
  Ed Lay
  Cleveland Housing Association Commissioner, Cleveland, TN

● Student Leadership:
  Brianna Riley
  Student, Cleveland State Community College, Athens, TN

●  Volunteer Service:
Jason Robertson
Owner, Southern Construction Group, Athens, TN

   The Community First Awards Gala is presented by CSCC and sponsored by First
Tennessee Foundation. It is a benefit for the CSCC Foundation Annual Campaign, and will be
held on March 30 at 6:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Cleveland. Dinner and entertainment
will be provided. Business attire is requested.
To purchase a ticket or for information on corporate sponsorship, contact Cindy Dawson
at (423) 614-8703 or visit the website at All proceeds will go to
support the Cleveland State Annual Fund.