Local nonprofit Journeys in Community Living is inviting the public to join the organization April 24 as it awards outgoing county Commissioner Joyce Ealy and several other outstanding community members for their service.
Ealy—who recently announced she would retire from the County Commission after 24 years—will receive the very special Robert Rose Community Service Award during Journeys in Community Living’s 2014 Annual Celebration & Silent Auction at the DoubleTree Hotel.
“What many may not know is that in addition to her work on the commission, Mrs. Ealy has worked tirelessly for several years to help adults with intellectual disabilities,” said Journeys in Community Living’s Executive Director Betty McNeely. “Her tireless efforts at Journeys, as a teacher and a commissioner are unparalleled.”
The award is named in honor of Robert E. Rose, a former Murfreesboro City Council member who served on Journeys’ board for 20 years. It is given to citizens who serve people with intellectual disabilities while also giving back to the Rutherford County community as a whole through civic engagement and volunteer work.
Several other awards will also be handed out at the celebration, including a Healthcare Leadership Award, Staff Achievement Award, Community Service Award and the Reeves-Sain Individual Achievement Award. A proclamation will be presented by State Rep. Mike Sparks.
The Annual Celebration will begin at 5:30 p.m. and last until about 8:30 p.m. April 24 at the DoubleTree Hotel on Old Fort Parkway. A silent auction will come first at 5:30 p.m., and will be followed by dinner and the awards presentation at 7 p.m.
Ealy was announced as this year’s recipient of the Robert Rose Award at a regular, March 28 meeting of the Journeys in Community Living Board of Directors.
Prior to that announcement of Ealy being named this year’s Robert Rose Award winner, she discussed with Journeys staff her passion for helping adults with intellectual disabilities.
“I have been so blessed in my life,” Ealy said. “Adults with intellectual disabilities deal with many issues and problems. I have tried to make a contribution to make their lives better, and that has given me a feeling of fulfillment and purpose.”
Those who would like to join in on the celebration and help adults with intellectual disabilities in the process may purchase a ticket ($35) or a table ($350) by visiting www.journeysincommunity.org, sending a check to Journeys in Community Living, Attn: Development Office, 1130 Haley Rd., Murfreesboro, TN, or by calling Journeys Development Coordinator Mark Bell at 615-295-3046.
This year’s keynote speaker is MTSU Men’s Basketball Coach Kermit Davis, who recently led his team to a 24-9 season and their third consecutive conference championship. Off the court, Davis is a devote to father to his two daughters. One of his daughters is a person with Down Syndrome.
Kelli Beam with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce will emcee the event. Beam is mother to a 6-year-old girl with special needs.
Sponsors of this year’s event include Reeves-Sain Pharmacy, National HealthCare Corporation, MidSouth Bank, Griffin Strategies, LLC, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co, Stones River Total Beverage Liquors, Al Gordon-Larry Ralston Photographers, The Daily News Journal, Sheriff Robert Arnold, Journeys Board Chair Dr. James Calder, Michael D. Colvin, Sparks, Mr. Mike Ussery, Ealy and State Farm Agent Andy Womack (retired state senator).
Journeys in Community Living is Rutherford County’s premier employment training program for adults with intellectual disabilities, and offers an array of other services, including residential assistance and transportation.
More information on Journeys and its mission can be found on the organization’s Web site or by contacting Bell.