Chattanooga Resident Honored For Helping Children With Special Needs

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Jordan Thomas of Chattanooga is one of six compassionate individuals who have distinguished themselves in helping those with special needs who will be honored at the 5th Annual “Free to Soar” Gala at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, at Morgan’s Wonderland in San Anotonio.

The fundraiser will benefit both non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built to be enjoyed by everyone, and next-door Monarch Academy school for students with special needs.

The five honorees, Christina Barton of Seguin, Tex., Sumiko Hamilton of Houston, Tex., Beth Hewitt of Castro Valley, Calif., Joel and Carolyn Price of Austin, Tex. and Jordan Thomas of Chattanooga, will be spotlighted at the gala as well as at a luncheon earlier in the day hosted by Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in the Alamo Quarry Market.  Their names will be embedded in a translucent, “stepping-stone”-like permanent marker on the Walk of Fame that hugs the shoreline of the park’s scenic eight-acre lake.

One of the evening’s highlights will be a 21st birthday celebration for Morgan Hartman, daughter of philanthropists Gordon and Maggie Hartman and the inspiration for Morgan’s Wonderland as well as other major initiatives to benefit the special-needs community.

“Each year, we honor five incredibly wonderful individuals who have dedicated themselves to promoting inclusion,” said Gordon Hartman, CEO of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation (GHFF), “but this year, we’re saluting a husband-wife team, bringing the number of honorees to six.

“Once again, we received nominations from all over the U. S., and each one was carefully reviewed by a panel of judges from Morgan’s Wonderland and the GHFF.  It was extremely difficult to select the winners from so many heartfelt nominations, however we believe the values exhibited by the Walk of Fame honorees clearly mirror the principles on which Morgan’s Wonderland was founded.”

Jordan Thomas lost his legs in a boating accident at age 16, and while still in the hospital, he saw that many children would return home without the prosthetics they needed.  He created the Jordan Thomas Foundation to provide prostheses for children of traumatic injury.  Since that time, Mr. Thomas and a large group of volunteers have raised more than $1 million.  This enables the foundation to provide prostheses for 10 children up through age 18, a commitment that requires from $80,000 to $100,000 for each child.  A graduate of Rollins College, Thomas continues to actively preside over his foundation, stay in touch with each beneficiary and spearhead annual golf and dinner fundraisers.  



$7 Million Prevention Effort To Target 12-25-Year-Olds In East Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is teaming up with community anti-drug coalitions across a 10-county region of East Tennessee in an effort to reduce the number of young people who are abusing prescription drugs. To help achieve this goal, TDMHSAS has secured nearly $7 million dollars in federal grant funds to engage with young people through ... (click for more)

Christmas In The Cove Is Dec. 4

Christmas in the Cove will be Dec. 4, from 6-8 p.m., with a tree lighting at 6 p.m. The event will be at Garden Plaza of Greenbriar Cove, 4586 Forsythia Way, Ooltewah, Tn. 37363.   • Come see Elsa and Anna, along with all the other characters from Disney’s movie Frozen. • Have your picture taken with Santa. • Listen to music by the Southern Adventist University ... (click for more)

Lookout Mountain, Ga., Raises Sewer Rates; Joins In Kudzu Fight

The Lookout Mountain, Ga., City Council on Thursday night approved an increase in sewer charges. The council approved ordinance 281 increasing sewer rates to $6 per 100 cubic feet of water from the previous rate of $4.77.  The new increase will be in effect in January 2015.    City Manager Brad Haven said the town will be replacing the flow meter for ... (click for more)

Police Investigating An Armed Robbery On Friday Night At UTC

UTC Police are investigating with the Chattanooga City Police an armed robbery in Lot 4 near Boling Apartments on Friday night. The suspects are described as two black men.  One was six feet tall, wearing a navy jacket, with medium skin tone and short hair.  The other suspect was reported to be 5’ 7”, wearing blue jeans and a long white T-shirt. The second suspect ... (click for more)

Don't Allow Us To Be Overrun By People Who Do Not Belong Here - And Response (6)

Thank you, Senator Corker, for your clear, concise evaluation of the president's attempt to bypass Congress and personally and independently establish national policy that violates our current immigration laws.   Our long-standing failure to enforce our laws to control illegal immigration across our southern border has made this country less safe and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Tubman Goat-Roping

Every spring there comes a bright day on the ranch when the straw-boss decrees a goat-roping should take place. What really happens is the veteran cowboys arm the greenhorns with some lariats late in the afternoon and take them to the pen that holds some Billy goats. This is before they get into bigger beasts -- horses and cattle – yet what appears to be easy most certainly is not. ... (click for more)