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. 


Local NAACP Launches Moral Week Of Action Aug. 22-28

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County NAACP, along with coalition partners, will conduct a Moral Monday Press Conference at City Hall on Friday. This press conference is relative to the launch of the TN NAACP’s Moral Week of Action, scheduled from Aug. 22-28.    During the press conference, information will be provided about the state-wide MWA activities, which will include ... (click for more)

Capture 2014 Kickoff Is Sept. 19 With Screening Of The Wrecking Crew

Denny Tadesco will bring his film, The Wrecking Crew, to Chattanooga for an exclusive screening and Q&A with the filmmaker. This screening will coincide with the Capture 2014 filmmaking kick-off event on Friday, Sept. 19. The Capture 2014 kick-off begins at 5:30 p.m., the screening of The Wrecking Crew will begin at 7 p.m. at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center,  200 E. Martin ... (click for more)

School Board Delays Decision On Big-Ticket Health Insurance Item For 1 Week

The Hamilton County School Board on Thursday night voted to delay a vote on a new insurance plan for employees until next Thursday. Sandy Hughes, president of the Hamilton County Education Association, said, "I have a difficult time trying to think of what priority in spending is more important than the well-being of your employees and their children...You've not given us enough ... (click for more)

Man Charged In Westview Elementary Rampage Under Treatment At Moccasin Bend

The 22-year-old charged with a rampage through Westview Elementary School is under treatment at Moccasin Bend Psychiatric Hospital, officials said. Aaron Roden had been set for his first court appearance on Thursday morning. Attorney Allen Dunn of the public defender's office said the hearing needed to be delayed. A status court appearance will be Sept. 23 at 1:30 p.m. Sheriff ... (click for more)

Black Creek TIF Decision-Who Guards The Hen House? - And Response

Citizens of Chattanooga were invited to give public comment before their own Industrial Development Board Aug. 15. They arrived to find foxes guarding their hen house.  Many thought the meeting was their opportunity to seek redress in the ill-conceived Black Creek Tax Increment Financing plan. However, they learned it was a sham orchestrated by both the past and present ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s ‘Pay It Forward’

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, this at a Starbucks coffee store located at 2186 Tyrone Blvd. in St. Petersburg, Fla.,  an unidentified woman who was first in line at the drive-through window, politely told the drive-through window clerk she would like to “pay it forward.” The clerk checked the next order – it was a caramel macchiato – and the first customer paid for both her ... (click for more)