"They come by just to say, ‘Hello, I’m so happy to see you today,’ or to celebrate your 90th birthday with you. They bake for people, stop by and say, ‘Hi,’ send a card, do other things that are fun in the community," said Civitan Evening Club Director Jean Walker. "They do things because they want to help people, and they don’t care if anyone knows."
The auxiliary members - Perry Hobbs, Sue Hobbs, Brenda Ashton, Wanda Jones, Lorraine Doty, Shirley Pyle, Joyce Oaks and Ruth Quillen - were honored "in recognition of unselfish service and the promotion of good citizenship," Walker said.
Kathy Green, Wexford’s administrator, said the auxiliary was formed five years ago.
"It’s hard for me to stand up here and speak for this group because they’re so vocal in their own right," she said.
The auxiliary members touch most of the 350 to 400 families who pass through Wexford House every year. When the group decided to raise $25,000 to match a corporate grant to purchase a new van, they did so in eight months.
"It doesn’t matter if it’s a card or Bingo, they’re willing to do it," Green said.
"We do what we do because we love it. It comes from our hearts," said auxiliary president Brenda Ashton. "We get a blessing every time we walk in."
The Civitan’s annual award is named for Charlie Keener, a charter member of both the Kingsport Civitan Evening Club and the Civitan Noonday Club. A graduate of and later a teacher at Dobyns-Bennett High School, he was the son of a doctor who grew up knowing the value of helping others, and his unselfish service to others grew throughout the years. After Keener died, a fellow Civitan member - the late Holiday Smith - suggested that Keener be honored. As a result, the Evening Club members changed the name of their annual award from the Golden Nut Award, named in honor of Keener’s father, to the Charlie Keener Award.
Serving on the Charlie Keener Award Committee were Gail Evans, Phyllis Streeter and Ruby Dishner.