Chattanooga Resident Honored For Helping Children With Special Needs

Wednesday, September 3, 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.  



Alexander: New FDA Cancer Center Brings “Exactly The Kind Of Coordination Necessary” To Get More Individualized Treatments And Cures To Patients

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander said Wednesday that Vice President Biden’s announcement of a new Oncology Center of Excellence at the Food and Drug Administration brings “exactly the kind of coordination necessary” to get more individualized treatments and cures to patients. “This new center of excellence is exactly the kind of FDA coordination the Senate health ... (click for more)

Alexander: Darin Gordon Helped Transform TennCare Into One Of The Country’s Most Fiscally Responsible Medicaid Programs

Senator Lamar Alexander Wednesday praised the “tireless” service of Darin Gordon, Tennessee’s longest-serving TennCare director, who will be stepping down from the position after more than a decade of service:                                                   ... (click for more)

County Commission Gives Up Fight On $900,000 In Discretionary Funds

County Commission members have given up the fight for the annual $900,000 in discretionary funds. Commission Chairman Chester Bankston said there was not enough money available after requests from a number of agencies and departments were cut to balance the budget without a tax increase. Commissioner Sabrena Smedley said the fact that commissioners can no longer allot the ... (click for more)

Athens, Tn., Man Killed And Several Others Injured In 2 Wrecks Near Ooltewah Exit Of I-75

One person was killed and several others injured in two wrecks early Wednesday morning on I-75 northbound at exit 11.   The victim was James Newman, 66, of Athens, Tn.   Northbound lanes were closed while emergency crews worked both accidents. Traffic was rerouted to Old Lee Highway to avoid the accident scene.   Traffic was backed up for an extended ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (2)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What You Leave Behind

Randy Travis, one of the best at singing country songs that has ever been, had a song about three people who got killed when an 18-wheeler missed a stop sign. There was a farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher on this bus and Randy tells us: “One's headed for vacation, one for higher education, An' two of them were searchin' for lost souls.” In that wonderful song, the ... (click for more)