People in Anderson County continue to show their commitment to preventing misuse of drugs and alcohol among our youth and across our community. Last Friday, March 1st, ASAP of Anderson held their yearly banquet to thank community partners and volunteers across the county for their dedication to fighting the opioid crisis and other substance misuse. At the banquet, ASAP crowned Rick Meredith Ally of the Year. Competition was the fiercest it has ever been this year leading to over $9,000 raised during the February campaign leading up to the banquet. This year, the campaign surpassed ASAP’s highest ever total by over $2,000. Rick Meredith prevailed over five other candidates with the support of his business and personal ties in the community.
The Ally of the Year campaign is a yearly competition where citizens can “vote” for the candidate or candidates of their choice.
Each person is nominated for their role as an important pillar in our community who has worked to create a healthy and safe Anderson County. Every $1 (or vote) counts toward the race for Ally of the Year - the candidate with the most votes, of course, wins.
Each candidate conducted their own campaign, but all of the candidates were united by one goal: to use their leadership, influence, and passion to raise awareness and funds to help prevent and reduce substance misuse in Anderson County. Rick Meredith of the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce competed against Lisa Downard, Oak Ridge Schools Preschool (Second Runner-Up); Shelby Haun, Anderson County Schools Preschool and HeadStart; Tribby Kelly, Oak Ridge Schools Preschool (First Runner-Up); Chief Robin Smith, Oak Ridge Police Department; and Sam Turner, Food City in Clinton.
All of the proceeds from the Ally of the Year campaign will be used for substance misuse prevention right here in Anderson County.
In addition to Ally of the Year, each year, ASAP of Anderson recognizes an influential community member with the Prevention Power Partner award.
This individual has demonstrated excellent prevention support, above and beyond and often behind the scenes. With thunderous applause from banquet attendees, ASAP recognized Dr. Tim Parrott, Greg Deal, and the Anderson County School Board as the 2018 Prevention Power Partner. ASAP saw fit for the award to go to a collective group of people who have been the most constant allies, rather than one individual this year.
They have granted ASAP access to youth leaders in our community, provided office space since 2012, and work collaboratively to ensure that every student has the support they need, both in and out of the classroom, every day.
ASAP also recognizes certain businesses in our community that exemplify outstanding support in substance misuse prevention. ASAP of Anderson’s prevention outreach would not be possible without the efforts and support of these businesses. ASAP proudly awarded Responsible Business Awards to Walgreens in Oak Ridge and Laura Lynn Riden, State Farm Agency. ASAP also established a new award this year recognizing and celebrating volunteers with more than 500 hours – the John Kelsey IMPACT Award. The award was named after its first recipient Mr. John Kelsey.
ASAP’s Executive Director, Stephanie Strutner, concluded the event with the wise words of the patron saint of East Tennessee, Dolly Parton, who said “You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.”
To partner with ASAP of Anderson or learn more about their mission or to make a donation, go to www.ASAPofAnderson.org or call 865-457-3007. Follow ASAPofAnderson on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.