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.  



CHI Memorial Announces 2016-2017 Board Of Directors

CHI Memorial announces officers and members of the board of directors for 2016-2017.  Sister Judith (Judy) Raley, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, will continue in her role as chair of the board of directors. Sr. Raley moved to Chattanooga in 1995 to provide spiritual care for patients, families and staff at CHI Memorial. As CHI Memorial’s senior vice president ... (click for more)

Erlanger Arts And Healing Contest Coming To A Close

The Arts and Healing photography competition hosted by the Arts at Erlanger Committee will be coming to a close. Entries will be accepted through Sunday.   The contest will supply the Arts at Erlanger Committee with unique imagery for the expansion project at Erlanger East Hospital.   Only digital images entered online by those living within a 75 mile radius of ... (click for more)

Morning Fire Destroys Vacant Valleybrook House; 2 Firefighters Suffer Burns

Fire destroyed a vacant house in the Valleybrook Community early Thursday morning. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 5:35 a.m. and responded to a reported fire at the Valleybrook Golf and Country Club off Hixson Pike. When the first firefighters from Station 19 arrived on the scene, they could not find the fire. Lt. Scott Sheets with Quint 19 said that ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Whiskey Company To Construct Large Distillery At Former Site Of Newton Chevrolet

The Chattanooga Whiskey Company has begun construction on a larger production distillery in the former Newton Chevrolet property at the corner of MLK Boulevard and Riverfront Parkway near the Tennessee River. Once fully operational, the Riverfront Parkway facility will be capable of producing upwards of 14 (53-gallon) barrels per day, making it one of the largest craft bourbon ... (click for more)

Judge Steelman Was Unfairly Criticized In Handling Of School Bus Driver Rape Case - And Response

We are blessed to have freedom of speech in our society, but I am always amazed at the number of folks who voice such strong antagonistic opinions about things without any apparent first-hand knowledge.   As any who wish to criticize the system should know, people get arrested and charged for criminal offenses every day.  The ultimate charge and penalty which results ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vote For Rhonda Thurman

After studying the Hamilton County School Board quite harshly during the last seven most-tumultuous months in its history, it is only proper that I share my belief that Rhonda is its Most Valuable Player. Four of the school board’s nine members are up for re-election, with Rhonda facing capable opponents in Jason Moses and Dr. Patti Skates in District 1, but let’s never forget that ... (click for more)