Looking for a hero
Easter Seals honors the Nashvillian of the Year
For more than a decade, the Nashvillian of the Year celebration, benefiting Easter Seals Tennessee, has honored individuals from our community who, through personal and professional endeavors, have made Nashville a better place to live, work and prosper. Past winners select the honorees based on their personal contributions to the community, along with their philanthropic involvement and business development, and this year was no exception as several hundred guests gathered at the Hilton Downtown to honor Mayor Karl Dean with this prestigious award.
This year, colleagues, friends and family of our esteemed Mayor mingled during the cocktail hour before heading upstairs for the banquet. The “Judy, Judy, Judy” girls—Barker, Fisher and Turner—(all blessed with no shortage of personality) were on hand to keep things lively and entertaining while Sheila Calloway chastised Mayor Dean over the many miles that she had walked with him as part of his fitness initiatives without managing to lose any weight!
EST President and CEO Rita Baumgartner, Board Chair Bill Andrews and Master of Ceremonies Neil Orne greeted everyone before the dinner, which consisted of a red and yellow caprese tower with balsamic glaze, duet of petite filet with wild mushroom cognac sauce and gouda-stuffed French breast of chicken, sweet and sour vegetables, roasted potatoes and a scrumptious red velvet cake with dark chocolate icing.
Following a video tribute, Karl acknowledged his family members in attendance including his wife, Anne Davis and their children, Rascoe, Frances and Wallen Dean. Karl thanked all of those responsible for the honor bestowed upon him and noted the Phil Ponder-created Nashville Skylines Award and medallion. Neil Orne saluted the late Buddy Killen, a 2005 honoree, and said he was sorely missed by the Easter Seals community. During his tenure as Easter Seal’s Chairman of the Board, Buddy lovingly raised thousands of dollars for the organization. The Buddy Killen Memorial Volunteer Service Award was created as a tribute to his dedication and long-standing friendship with Easter Seals. This year’s recipient was Terry Cobb (an employee of the Metro Department of Codes and Building Safety), who hosts an annual golf tournament benefiting local charities including Easter Seals. Terry’s active involvement with the tournament has enabled many children and adults to attend Easter Seals Camp with the proceeds it produces.
This was a perfectly planned evening for a “school” night as it featured delicious food, a brief program and terrific camaraderie. Congratulations not only to Karl and Terry Cobb, but to the many Easter Seals volunteers who made this event a meaningful, enjoyable occasion.
—Gloria Houghland, Photographs by Michael W. Bunch