The 2017 Class of Leadership Oak Ridge is nearing completion of a project that seeks to honor a beloved member of the community for his tireless efforts to improve the lives of those around him, both personally and professionally. A dedication ceremony for the Dr. Gene Caldwell Memorial Garden has been set for 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 8, at Emory Valley Center.
The group chose to build a raised-bed garden at Emory Valley Center for their class project and dedicate the garden in memory of Caldwell, a local pediatrician and citizen of Oak Ridge who helped raise the funds for Emory Valley Center’s new location. The group agreed that this would be a wonderful way to honor Caldwell’s legacy. He passed away in March of this year, just before the new center was set to open.
Since early spring, the Leadership class has worked to develop and execute a plan for the garden. They used fundraising for the project as well as donations of materials and labor to make their vision a reality. Navy Junior ROTC cadets from Oak Ridge High School assisted with the build, which was finished earlier this month. The Leadership class is now working on the finishing touches.
“I’m incredibly proud of what the 2017 Leadership Oak Ridge class has been able to accomplish here,” Leadership Oak Ridge Project Manager Dionne Harper said. “We set a significant goal and far exceeded our own expectations in creating something meaningful and beautiful for Emory Valley Center and the Caldwell family. This project has certainly left a lasting impression on each one of us. We’d like to thank everyone who helped make it happen.”
Emory Valley Center is a nonprofit agency that has been serving children and adults with disabilities in the East Tennessee area for more than 60 years. The mission of the organization is to enhance the lives of children, adults and families in an environment that promotes independence, dignity, and respect. Emory Valley Center’s new facility is located at 723 Emory Valley Road in Oak Ridge.
The ceremony on November 8 will include a special presentation by the Oak Ridge High School Navy Junior ROTC program and brief remarks from several speakers close to the project. A reception will follow the dedication. The event is expected to run from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. Media and members of the community are invited to attend.
The 2017 Leadership Oak Ridge class includes Misty Bittle, Aaron Buck, Kate Carter, Jordan Clark, Jackie Clay Dubose, Sharon Coleman, Steven Crowe, Betsy Cunningham, Davyda Hammond, Dionne Harper, Richard Hazuda, Myles Hebrard, Jeremy Hodges, Lisa Kendall, Craig Layman, Michael Manfredo, Marcia Mask, Susan May, Cynthia Morgan, Blake Overton, Jack Parker, Marisa Parkes, Amanda Purdy, Sarah Self, Mathew Stanke, Jennifer Walker, and Erin Webb.
For more information on the dedication event or the Leadership Oak Ridge program, contact Greta Ownby, Executive Vice President of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, at (865) 483-1321, ext. 101.
About Leadership Oak Ridge: Entering its 30th program year, Leadership Oak Ridge is one of the longest continuously running community leadership programs in the United States. For the more than 1,000 graduates of the program, their Leadership Oak Ridge experience continues to make a difference in their personal and business lives. Most importantly, their experience continues to impact the Oak Ridge community.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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