The recipient of the Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga’s 2017 Distinguished Service Award is Harry “Hap” Harwell, Jr.
"Harwell, a gentle-natured trailblazer who’s rarely without a smile, will join a long list of outstanding volunteer leaders as the next recipient of the Distinguished Service Award," officials said.
The ceremony will be held on Tuesday, March 13, from noon-1 p.m. at the Westin.
Since 1922, the Distinguished Service Award has been presented annually in recognition of an individual’s outstanding leadership and service to the Chattanooga community.
"Its recognition as Chattanooga’s 'Citizen of the Year' award has been earned by the outstanding group of men and women to whom it has been awarded over the years," officials said.
A Tennessee native and graduate of UT Knoxville, Mr. Harwell has long been making noteworthy contributions in his professional and volunteer roles, officials said.
Early in his career, he was the first supervisor at R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to manage a desegregated production line, a line which would become the most productive one in the company.
He later moved to Mobile, Al. to work for South Central Bell, where he managed and integrated its residential division. In Mobile, he served as president of the Industrial Management Association, as president of the Sertoma Club, as an officer on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and as an elder of the First Christian Church.
In 1970, Mr. Harwell moved to Chattanooga to begin his career with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Shortly thereafter, Governor Winfield Dunn appointed him to the TN/GA Health Care Commission to address regional health care issues, and he served in that role for five years.
A lifelong volunteer and a called a "natural leader," Mr. Harwell has served as the president of the boards of the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, the American Heart Association, Chattanooga Goodwill Industries and the Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga. He has also served on numerous other boards, including those of the American Red Cross, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Greater Chattanooga.
He was instrumental in forming both the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP), an organization that works to facilitate the rehabilitation of both victims of crime and juvenile criminals, and Goodwill’s HELP program, which grants patients access to medical equipment at no cost.
For many years, Mr. Harwell has been an active member of the Church of the Good Shepherd, and a teacher/mentor for the Education for Ministry (EFM) program of the University of the South, School of Theology (Sewanee).
Many community members may recognize him from his weekly visits to the Children’s Hospital. For 20 years, he and his pet therapy dogs have walked the halls, bringing good humor and wagging tails to the children and families receiving care.
To purchase tickets to the March 13 lunch and award presentation, call 423-267-6568 or email email@example.com. Tickets are $40 each, and tables are available for $320.