By Laura Gwinn / firstname.lastname@example.org
Words of praise and appreciation filled Fair Park Senior Center March 30 as Cumberland County's Woman of the Year was honored.
The Woman of the Year 2007 is Frances Monroe Bass Carson. She has been in a number of roles in the community, including being the coordinator for the city of Crossville centennial celebration, Leadership Cumberland, membership coordinator of the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce and Cumberland County sesquicentennial consultant. She is also one of the founding partners of The Plateau Group and was the director of the Cumberland County Extended School program.
"Frances is a worthy choice to be named Woman of the Year," Cumberland County Mayor Brock Hill said. "This is my 13th year in office, so I've basically been in every one of these. I've known nearly everybody you've honored fairly well, but I probably don't know anybody as well as I've known Frances. We've worked together on Chamber events, church events, and a lot of things. I've been able to see firsthand the heart and dedication and love she has of this community."
Hill presented her with a certificate of merit and appreciation.
Eric Swafford, state representative, and Charlotte Burks, state senator, also presented Carson with state honors. Peggy Houston presented her with a plaque of appreciation and Sally Oglesby with the city of Crossville also presented Carson with a Distinguished Service Award.
Crossville Chronicle publisher Pauline Sherrer is a friend of Carson's who had words of appreciation to share.
"I came to Crossville in 1981 and Frances Carson was one of the first ladies I had met," Sherrer said. "We became friends and have been friends ever since. She has a great love for children. She just understands children.
"The late John Dooley wanted to start an extended school program. We needed somebody to get the program started and up and running. I said Frances is the person for that. I had to talk to Frances for a little while and she graciously accepted the challenge and the program lasted for four years until the school system took it over.
"Then, years later, the city was going to have their celebration and they needed someone to head the activities for a year. I said you need Frances Carson. So they hired Frances Carson. She goes in, gets the job done, and if you want something done, that's Frances. She's a great worker and a great friend. Cumberland County loves you as much as I do."
United Fund director Holly Neal also had words of appreciation to express.
"I'm privileged to be Frances' friend," Neal said. "One of the things I so appreciate about you Frances is that if you really want to know something about yourself, she will tell you. There's times where it's been in corrective mode, saying 'Now Holly, that wasn't positive, we're going to talk positive today,' and I'm thankful for that. I need those reminders and I'm thankful that she loves me enough to tell me those things."
Neal and Carson had worked together on a prison ministry with the Taft Center. Carson has also been instrumental in her church activities and Relay for Life.
"Frances equals success," Neal concluded. "You're a woman for everybody."
Carson joins 18 other women as Woman of the Year honorees. Anna Belle O'Brien, Barbara Parsons, Mary Crabtree, Vancieneta Wisdom, Peggy Houston, Pauline Sherrer, Sally Oglesby and Joanne Harrison Stone are just some of the names Carson joins in the history books as Woman of the Year.
"I appreciate everything that you all have done for me and said about me, and I do love Cumberland County," Carson said. "It's a place we chose to make our home. I guess I might have been one of the first tourists who came here. I have come to love this community. I met my husband here. We have been here a long time. We chose to raise our family here because it is a safe place, and everybody was treated the same. I really appreciate the sophistication we've found in Cumberland County with the people who come in here and the talents they bring in. It's just the stop lights and the traffic that bothers me now.
"I just want to make Cumberland County a place for artists to come and be appreciated and show their talents. Cumberland County's an exciting place to be and an exciting place to grow up."