Local Gym To Be Named In Honor Of City Facility Manager, Johnny O'Neal

Thursday, January 23, 2014
Johnny O'Neal
Johnny O'Neal

First-Centenary United Methodist Church, a partner with The City of Chattanooga Department of Youth & Family Development (YFD), will celebrate the naming of “O’Neal Gym” in honor of Johnny O’Neal, for 35 years of dedication to youth and families in Chattanooga. Mr. O’Neal will be recognized during Sunday morning services, followed by a dedication and reception in the O’Neal Gymnasium at 11:45 a.m.

“I’m proud,” said Johnny O’Neal, “When I first came here as a youth, someone mentored me.  I feel honored to continue to do the same after all these years.”

Mr. O’Neal joined First Centenary’s Inner City Ministries program as part time staff in 1979, providing recreation activities to youth from nearby neighborhoods and schools. 35 years later, Mr. O’Neal is still committed, now serving as facility manager, which mentors an average of 80 youths daily as part of an after school program held at First Centenary Youth and Family Development Center.

“We offer a full slate of programs,” said Mr. O’Neal, “however recreation is just a small pebble. Education and social development are the building blocks of our existence.”

“This was a very easy decision to make,” said Rev. Dr. Doug Fairbanks of First Centenary. “Mr. O’Neal has given himself to the work of loving and mentoring thousands of inner-city children. We simply believe that one of the ways we can say to Johnny, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’, is to name the gym in his honor.” 

“The City of Chattanooga is honored as well,” said Greta Hayes, Chattanooga YFD’s director of recreation. “Johnny is a perfect example of commitment to the development of our youth and how a City and a faith-based institution can work and excel together.”

First Centenary and the City of Chattanooga have been partners since the mid 1980s. The afterschool program provides tutoring, reading, sports, and camps that builds self-esteem, cultivates self-discipline, develop better communication skills and teaches respect for others. 


Siskin Children's Institute Hosts 41st Annual StyleWorks April 25-26

Siskin Children’s Institute announced Candace Chazen and Jen Isaacson as the co-chairs for the 2017 StyleWorks luncheon and fashion show, presented by Belk. A spring tradition in Chattanooga, StyleWorks – Fashion with Compassion supports Siskin Children’s Institute’s programs that serve more than 2,500 children and families annually. This year’s two-day event will take place on ... (click for more)

John Shearer: Former Congressman Bob Clement Tells Tales Of Elvis, Truman And Billy Graham

Over the years, I have become a little intrigued with the Clement family of Middle Tennessee, and not really for any political reasons.   I remember one time in college in 1980, when I stopped to visit University of Georgia friend and Bulldog golfer Bob Wolcott in Dickson, Tenn. Instead of having posters of pro golfers in his bedroom, he had a framed old picture of the ... (click for more)

Marquis Perry, 20, Killed In 3-Car Accident In Dalton On Saturday

Marquis Perry, 20, was killed in a  fatal three-vehicle crash on the South Bypass in Dalton just south of Sawgrass Drive  on Saturday  at approximately  4:30 pm . The crash happened when the driver of a black Ford Mustang traveling southbound on the bypass for some reason left its lane of travel and crossed over the center line and hit a 2004 Chevy ... (click for more)

Cedric A. Williams, 38, Arrested For Multiple Burglaries

Cedric A. Williams, 38, responsible for four business burglaries, was arrested by Chattanooga Police.  Teamwork, corroboration, and communication between three detectives working separate cases led to the arrest of the man targeting Hispanic-owned businesses in Chattanooga,, officials said. On Wednesday, March 8, Tienda Maya located at 1939 Central Ave. was burglarized. ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret - And Response

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: This Library Comes Alive

I am pretty positive that I haven’t stepped foot in a library in the last 50 years. Between the ever-widening Internet, with all of its search engines and infinite resources, I have got about as much use for a library as I would if I read a book about a transgender person. I have neither the time or inclination. Be like trying to teach a pig to sing – the pig always get bored. ... (click for more)