Honoring Our Community Service Recipients
On July 4, 2021, the Sewanee Civic Association was able to gather in-person to bestow the 37th and 38th Community Service Awards, and the 2020 and 2021 Summa Cum Laude Awards.
The four awardees are among Sewanee’s finest: the Mountain Mask Initiative, 37th Community Service Award; John and Bonnie McCardell, 2020 Summa Cum Laude Award; Janet Graham, 2021 Summa Cum Laude Award; and Kiki Beavers, 38th Community Service Award.
In the early days of the pandemic, when masks were nowhere to be found, a group of Sewanee area residents set to the task of hand-sewing masks. Mask makers included Sally Hubbard, Rachel Lynch, June Coker, Merissa Tobler, Lynn Vogel, Spike Hosch and others. The hundreds of hand-made masks available for free at multiple locations had an immeasurable impact on the wellbeing of the community.
In their 10 years at the helm of Sewanee, John and Bonnie McCardell lead with grace and compassion. John initiated changes aimed at stimulating the economy and integrating students, faculty, and local residents. A tireless volunteer, Bonnie took on the whole plateau as a project, through Sewanee’s Office of Civic Engagement and the South Cumberland Community Fund, raising money and establishing programs that will enrich the lives of the mountain community for generations.
Behind-the-scenes hero Janet Graham has given her skills and talents to area community and faith-based programs throughout her 20 years as a Sewanee resident. Janet served on the board of the Community Action Committee and Sewanee Woman’s Club, and with her late husband Tim chaired the Sewanee Community Chest fund drive. A plant lover, Janet volunteers as a gardener at St. Mary’s Sewanee Retreat Center. She has also been actively involved with the Sewanee Garden Club and St. James Episcopal Church and was the former co-publisher and advertising manager of the Sewanee Mountain Messenger. A nominator put it well: “Janet is the person you can look to to get it done.”
To summarize one nominator’s praise: “Kiki Beavers took on the ‘impossible task’ of [getting] us all to the other side of the pandemic…the worst year on the Mountain in over a century.” Beavers helped steer two major support initiatives, the General Relief Fund (Pay It Forward) and 37375 Campaign, brought together community leaders from the University, faith groups, civic groups, schools and the larger community to address challenges, and kept area residents informed of the pandemic’s twists and turns through the Sewanee Mountain Messenger.