Thompson receives AAUW award

Patricia Sparks Thompson was awarded the 2008 AAUW Crystal Award at a reception on Monday, March 31, at the Blount County Public Library. Thompson is founder and director of the four-year-old Joshua Resource Center that provides education, support, and guidance for women in difficult circumstances.

Claudia Brady, 2005 AAUW Crystal Award recipient, presented the award which honors a person whose life and work create opportunities for the women and girls of Blount County to achieve their greatest potential. The Maryville Branch of AAUW initiated the Crystal Award in 2004.

Other finalists honored included Robin Devereaux, director of Dream Street Infusion Dancers, and Sharon Hannum, community leader and founder of a mentoring program through St. Paul AME Zion Church.

The theme for this year’s Crystal Award was “Who Inspired You?” Bonnie Hinds with Ann Meyer, Valerie Segar Spence, and Christy Walsh highlighted the Crystal Award theme with reflections on the people who have inspired them. Educators, government employees, business and organization leaders, and the community-at-large were invited to nominate individuals who inspired them because of their efforts on behalf of women and girls. Supporters of AAUW honored friends and relatives who inspired them by listing their names and accomplishments in the event program.

Camille Crumpton, Maryville High School harpist, began the evening with music while guests enjoyed refreshments catered by Lisa Williams of Grounded Coffee and More.

Branch President Charlotte Crawford said, “Each of the 2008 finalists has a story of struggle behind her achievements and contributions. They provide inspiration for all who work to better the lives of women in Blount County and Tennessee.”

In a proclamation by Speaker of the House of Representatives Jimmy Naifeh states, “I, Jimmy Naifeh, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the One Hundred Fifth General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, at the request of and in conjunction with Representative Doug Overbey, do hereby proclaim that we recognize and honor Patricia Thompson for her unflagging commitment to serving her community, congratulate her for winning the 2008 American Association of University Women Crystal Award, and wish her every continued success in her future endeavors.”

Founded in 1881, AAUW is a national organization of 100,000 members and 1,300 branches. AAUW Maryville Branch was founded in 1943 and celebrates it 65th anniversary this year. The Maryville Branch has sponsored activities promoting education and empowerment for women in Blount County. For more information about AAUW and the Crystal Award, visit www.discoveret.org/aauwmvil or contact Membership Vice President Christy Walsh at 865-379-7904.

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