A crowd of supporters packed into First United Methodist Church of Maryville’s gymnasium recently to honor Joe Dawson with a Community Leadership Award.
The honor, sponsored by Leadership Blount, recognized Dawson for his service to the community.
Robert Redwine, chair of the Blount Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, praised Dawson for his commitment Blount Memorial Hospital and to the people of Blount County.
Redwine said that Dawson was 37 when he became administrator in 1985.
“He had a new board president, a new attorney, and there was controversy about refinancing bonds for building a new wing,” Redwine said. “Some very wise folks decided Joe Dawson was the right choice, and Joe has proven he was the right person for the hospital and the community. He pulled together a good team to solve problems.”
Some of the accomplishments hospital staff achieved under Dawson’s direction included making the Emergency Department a Level III trauma center, opening the health center at Springbrook, opening Morningview Senior Living and transitional care and opening a new cancer center, Redwine noted.
“Revenues have grown from $28 million to $170 million,” he said. “If there’s a thread that runs through his career, it is in bringing the hospital and community closer through needed services.”
Fred Forster shared his thoughts on Dawson receiving the honor from Leadership Blount. Forster started by sharing core values of the Air Force, including integrity, service before self and excellence in all a person does. “Joe is a poster child for the Air Force core values,” he said. “It’s been a great pleasure to know Joe as a friend and confidant over the years.”
Forster addressed Dawson directly in praising his work in the community. “We’re mighty proud of all you’re doing today for the community,” he said.
Dawson thanked everyone for the honor. “I’ll start by saying this is not something I sought but I am so honored to have received this award,” he said.
The hospital administrator said people in Blount County believe in improving the quality of the community. “When you do something for someone, the whole community benefits,” he said.
Dawson said another payback to his job is the people he has met. “They’re all sacrificing their personal time to make this community better,” he said.
The hospital administrator encouraged those at the breakfast to remember the less fortunate. “There are people out there who can not survive without our help,” he said. “Err on the side of grace.”