Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

April 10, 2013

Bright lights shine in Cumberland County

By Clinton Gill
Glade Sun editor

CROSSVILLE — The 2013 Dimpled Globe Awards banquet was held on Saturday, April 6, at the Fairfield Glade Conference and Community Center. The ceremony honored 10 residents of Cumberland County who had been selected by the Award Committee of the United Fund for their generosity and efforts to make their community a great place to live. This year’s  honorees are as follows: Dorothy Brush, Andy and Lisa O’Connor, Destinee Dowdy, Don Alexander, Dr. Harold and Diana Lowe, Barbara Thornhill, Robert Uebelacker III, and Paul Wennermark.

The Dimpled Globe Awards began in 2005 as an annual feature of the Glade Sun in a column written by Larry Backus. The term, “Dimpled Globe,” is derived from the shape of a golf ball – coined as a clever nod to Crossville’s distinction of being the “Golf Capital of Tennessee.” From the very beginning, the purpose has been to honor individuals who make a difference in this community.

“Cumberland County truly is a special place. The purpose of the Dimpled Globe Awards was to emphasize a sense of community – whether you live in Mayland, Fairfield Glade, Pleasant Hill, Tansi or Crossville, we’re all a part of Cumberland County,” said Backus.

“Shining a light on neighbors making a difference” is the theme of the Dimple Globe Awards. As the honorees were introduced by the selected speakers, their extraordinary contributions came to light.

Now, for the names of the Honorees:

Dorothy Brush: For over 25 years Brush has entertained, educated and brought laughter with her newspaper columns that number over 1,000. In all those years, and despite fighting cancer, she has never been late for a deadline. In 2004, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists selected her as the “Columnist of the Year.” This recipient has contributed to the lives of everyone in Cumberland County. A nonagenarian who has recently celebrated her 70th wedding anniversary with her husband Earle, Dorothy is a pure delight. 

Don Alexander: If you live in Cumberland County, you should know Don Alexander. Sitting on over seven boards, ranging from Hospice, United Fund, Crossville Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce and LBJ&C Head Start, it is easy to see why Alexander feels that making a difference is what life is all about. His 27 years as executive director of the Crossville Housing Authority won him the proclamation that, in Crossville, July 19, 2007 was to be known as “Don Alexander Day.” Receiving numerous awards throughout his life, Alexander is a quiet servant. In keeping with a spirit of humility, after receiving his Dimpled Globe Award, he remarked, “This is a great honor for us. I accept this honor, not for Don Alexander,  but I accept this for the board of commissioners and employees of Crossville Housing Authority.”

Paul Wennemark: Retiring doesn’t mean you sit back and relax. To Wennemark, it only means the opportunity to work harder. Moving to Tennessee in 2004, he immediately became active in missions work. As Wennemark states, he has a passion for missions. He feels that helping those who are in need is what it’s all about. Over the years he has gone on 28 missions, from Russia to Puerto Rico to Mexico, and to whereever he can offer assistance in helping others. He is a 32nd Degree Mason and past president of the Fairfield Glade Rotary. As a former Boy Scout leader, Wennemark has helped the young men in his area become all that they could be. He may be retired, but his passion to help others is stronger than ever.

Lisa and Andy O’Connor: A dedicated couple who make a big difference in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Cumberland County. They serve as coordinators for The Arc of Cumberland County Structured Athletics (SACC) program. Always being the ones to facilitate and organizing sporting events throughout the year, they help people from the age of four to greater than 80 years of age. The O’Connors believe “the more you give the more you reap.” Raising two children diagnosed with autism doesn’t hold them back, as they can always be seen working with SACC and the special needs people of Cumberland County. They do whatever it takes to make sure participants’ dreams come true, one game at a time.

Barbara Thornhill: For more than 30 years, Thornhill has worked in Cumberland County in the area of public relations, mostly behind the scenes. Not wanting to draw attention to herself, she has worked hard to benefit all who she has come in contact with and tells it like it is. Starting at CMC, she eventually became the public relations director. Moving ever forward, her talents were needed at the Crossville Vocational School, now known as Tennessee Technology Center of Crossville. Her proudest moments were when she could help others decide what to do with their lives; she worked with every student at TTC, organizing student government, blood drives, food drives and coat drives. Advancing the conception and promoting Tennessee Technology Center has always been one of her main concerns. She has traveled constantly to other counties surrounding Cumberland County promoting TTC of Crossville. Thornhill has a sincere interest in genealogy and during retirement plans on pursuing and initiating Scottish events in the community.

Destinee Dowdy, Stone Memorial High School: A talented young lady who devotes the majority of her time in helping others. Besides holding down two jobs, she is president of the Teen Advisory Group of the Art Circle Public Library, tutors elementary students, serves as student council vice president, and is the SMHS school board student representative. Dowdy has won the City of Crossville’s Christmas card contest with her art work and the VEC short essay contest with her composition titled, “Electricity Cooperatives: iPower the Future.” She is one of the only students to finish four advanced classes in one year. Her plans following high school are to attend the University of Tennessee and work toward a degree in mass communications.

Robert Uebelacker III, Cumberland County High School: A student with a 4.0 GPA, captain of the CCHS Baseball Team, nominated to attend the Air Force Academy, already accepted into the Honors College at Mississippi State University on scholarship, CCHS Student Representative to the school board, student leader in Attic (a youth group at the Cumberland Fellowship Church), working at TAD (Teens Against Drugs) and, upon attending Tennessee Boys State in 2012, was elected Supreme Court Justice. These are only a sampling from his already long resume. “In what may be his finest quality,” said Baseball Coach David Pritchard, “he lives by principle and his faith.” A great example of what you can do with your life at such a young age.

Dr. Harold and Diana Lowe, the “Gumption Award”: Dr. Lowe, a retired cardiologist, moved to Crossville in 2002. He soon saw there was a need for a source of health care for the underinsured and noninsured people of Cumberland County and surrounding areas. The Lowes worked hard to find people who would help and eventually opened the “Rural Clinic” now located on Sparta Hwy. Opening in June of 2007 they now see 50-60 patients per week, offering general x-rays, low cost lab work and Rx Assistance. Dr. Lowe, at a spry 82 years of age, now has help from a nurse practitioner and several volunteers. Diana serves as executive director and works hard in raising sufficient funds to keep the clinic open. Both are fearful that the National Health Care Act might close the clinic. In dedicating over 30 hours per week to the clinic they put their patient’s needs above their own. Caring about their fellow man and working hard throughout their lives shows a great deal of gumption. The “Gumption Award” comes from Backus’ mother, who used to tell him, “if you’ve got gumption you’ve really got something special.” After hearing the Lowes’  incredible story, “Gumption” says it all.

Dr. David Prigg contributed to this article.