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Grundy County’s Stars Award Honorees

Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 11:15 am

In 2008, Volunteer Tennessee initiated the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards, a recognition program designed to honor the outstanding service of those who volunteer in various ways throughout their local Tennessee communities. This year two award recipients, one youth and one adult in each county, will be recognized in Franklin on March 9. This celebration will illustrate the importance of civic participation and service to improve overall community norms. “The event was developed to recognize the unsung heroes from across the Great State of Tennessee. This state has a longtime legacy of service, named ‘The Volunteer State’ almost 200 years ago. These volunteers play a critical role in the success of Tennessee communities across the state. Through nonprofit organizations, national service programs, faith-based organizations, and neighbor-helping-neighbor, outstanding volunteer service is part of our state heritage. In fact, the annual value of Tennessee volunteers is $3.4 billion. As the Volunteer State, we must continue to foster this sense of service and civic responsibility. In an effort to encourage more Grundy County citizens to help improve our community through volunteerism, Volunteer Tennessee has instituted this statewide volunteer recognition program, the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards,” stated County Mayor Michael Brady. “The Grundy County Mayor’s Office is happy to help organize and promote Volunteerism in Grundy County, while recognizing the efforts of those who go above and beyond the call of duty every day by making a difference in the lives of others.” Prior winners of the awards volunteered to serve on the approval committee by independently reading each nomination and scoring the nominations, those numbers were put together in order to get winners for the 2015 Grundy County Governors Volunteer Stars Award. Several of the committee stated that all the nominations were worthy and they were overwhelmed by the acts of service that each nominee listed. Mayor Brady was excited about all the nominations that came in from across the county. “Grundy County is well known for the natural beauty, but one fact that is often overlooked by others is the amazing people that we have in our county that make it great. The nominations received by the committee were a testament to the commitment and love that our citizens have for one another,” stated Brady. bellThe winner of the 2014 Governor’s Volunteer Stars Award in the adult category is Wanda Bell of Tracy City.  Wanda has been involved in many activities that have benefited Grundy County, including the Grundy County Farm Bureau Women. The Grundy Farm Bureau Women members participate in the state and national Achievement Program of Activities, which includes a submission of the record of volunteer hours accumulated by individual members during each year. Last year, Wanda reported 300 volunteer hours; and many of the hours she had contributed to the welfare of this community were not recorded. Several of the activities Wanda has participated in are: Community Activities:

  • Grundy County Farm Bureau Women Ag-In-The-Classroom Chair
  • Volunteers with local 4-H program as adult leader
  • Serves on County Agricultural Advisory Committee
  • Graduate of Leadership Grundy, currently serving as Board member
  • Member of Board for Tracy City Business Cub; assists with Alma Mater Theater

Church activities:

  • Assists with weekly meetings of church youth program held at her church; involves community-wide participation of youth
  • Teaches Sunday School class
  • Leads adult Bible Study groups
  • Organized and directed a weekend Christian Women’s retreat
  • Serves as Highland Rim Emmaus registrar

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Awarded the 2014 Yeatman Environmental Education Award “In appreciation for the many lives she has touched by sharing her love of the outdoors and the Cumberland Plateau with the Students of Grundy County” presented from the Friends of South Cumberland at Trails and Trilliums event
  • Received Outstanding AITC Educator Award for District III from Farm Bureau Women; included a certificate and cash prize

Wanda was very instrumental in writing grants for funding to purchase equipment (computers, digital cameras, and more) for students to use in their studies at the Outdoor Classroom. She was a key player in establishing the facility and making it a learning opportunity for the students of Grundy County. The Outdoor Classroom, as it was originally set up, was an example for the rest of the state. Alina Posey picture 1The winner of the 2014 Governor’s Volunteer Stars Award in the Youth category is Ms. Alina (A.J.) Posey from Altamont. The individual that nominated Alina said the first time she met A.J., she asked “Okay, so what needs to be done now?” “We were at the Outdoor Classroom site at Grundy County High School preparing for the annual Farm Day for third grade students. That was four years ago, and A.J. was a Freshman FFA student at GCHS. I was surprised, and immediately impressed, with her obvious work ethic. A.J. was seeking work to do, rather than seeking how to get out of working. We have held a Farm Day for all third grade students each year since, and A.J. has been a valuable volunteer for each event. Not only is she a reliable worker, she is also a good leader. She has the ability to see what needs to be done, rolls up her sleeves to do her part, and encourages others to help as well.” A.J. is willing to do any work needed, no matter how difficult or dirty—and she will do it well. She has served as the manager for the Grundy County High School football team, and the quality of her work is evidenced by a quote from FOX61’s “The Fifth Quarter” producer, Jessica Graves: “In 5 years of production on FOX61’s ‘The Fifth Quarter’, our team has visited nearly every locker room and field house in the Tennessee Valley. We’ve seen a wide range of tidiness and smelled an even wider range of unfavorable smells, but the facilities at Grundy County are, without a doubt, the cleanest and best-smelling facilities we’ve had the privilege of visiting. Not only have they managed to get rid of the teenage funk that plagues most locker rooms, but the space was well-organized, properly lit, and just all around pleasant to be in.” A.J.’s little blue VW bug was frequently seen parked behind the field house while she worked to mop the floor or do whatever was necessary to clean the facility. She spent close to three hours every Monday through Friday getting the boys water, washing their jerseys, cleaning the field house, and getting things ready for the games. If anything was missing on Friday night, she would find a way to get what was needed. While spending much of her time as manager of the football team, A.J. still found time to be involved in several other clubs at GCHS including FFA (Future Farmers of America), FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), AWJ (Athletes Working for Jesus), HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America), NHS (National Honor Society), and the Purple & Gold Club. As a member of the National Honor Society, she was required to do at least 20 hours of volunteer work every year. While volunteering for the school, she mowed the outdoor classroom, stayed after school to clean the gym, cleared the cafeteria for the Zumba boot camp, and helped teachers clean their rooms and organize their desks for them. Alina is not just a hard worker; she is also a great leader and motivator for other students. A.J. has been an exemplary member of the FFA, having been recognized with a trophy from the Ag Business Council as Outstanding FFA Member. She has served as President of her FFA chapter, has attended state and national FFA Conventions, and has always made an effort to lead other students. She has been involved in some state meetings sponsored by the Farm Bureau – networking with state agricultural leaders and state political leaders. She has become acquainted with the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation (TFBF) President Lacy Upchurch, and TFBF Executive Vice President Redona Rose, Senator Janice Bowling, and former State Representative for our District, Paul Ryan, as well as the Commissioner of Agriculture, Julius Johnson. She attended the state YF&R Summer Conference where she had the opportunity to get to know all of the state FFA Officers. She is well-acquainted with some of the former and present national FFA officers. A.J. is poised, friendly, and able to communicate well with people on all levels. As a community volunteer, A.J. has worked the door at TAP (Tennessee All-Pro Wrestling) in McMinnville each Saturday, where Grundy high school students compete. She helps the Coalmont Fire Department with their haunted houses. She has assisted the Grundy County Health Council with presentations at Mountain Top that included information about drugs and the consequences of drug use. A.J. attended the Tennessee Teen Institute as a representative of Grundy County. Teens from around the state were invited to participate for a week and were trained about drug awareness. There isn’t an organized youth group at A.J.’s church, but she has assisted her mother with  donut sale fundraisers for her church. In recognition of her outstanding leadership and all-around qualities, A.J. was invited for a week’s visit to the U.S. Naval Academy in the summer of 2014, as a possible candidate.