Friends of the Smokies has bestowed its inaugural Legacy Award to Gary Wade, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice and founding board member of the park’s supporting organization. Friends’ Board chairman Mark Williams presented the honor on Feb. 12 at the seventh annual Evergreen Ball, held at the Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville, with more than 450 in attendance.
Friends of the Smokies selected Wade for this special award based on his trailblazing efforts to establish the Friends of the Smokies organization in 1993, his many years of service as chairman of the board, and his heartfelt appreciation for the park and its resources, said information from the Smokies’ organization. Wade’s history of community leadership was also a factor, including his roles as Mayor of Sevierville, Tennessee Criminal Appeals Court Judge and Tennessee Supreme Court Justice.
Over the years, Wade has also earned a solid reputation as a generous philanthropist and tireless fundraiser for a variety of causes, including wildlife, education, historic preservation, and the underprivileged. With that track record in mind, Friends of the Smokies also announced the creation of the Gary Wade Wildlife Fund to support wildlife conservation projects in the Smokies. Board members and other donors to Friends of the Smokies have already pledged or donated $25,000 to help launch the fund. Those interested in adding to the fund may donate online at http://shop.friendsofthesmokies.org/donations.html or send a check payable to “Friends of the Smokies,” PO Box 1660, Kodak, TN, 37764, with “Gary Wade Wildlife Fund” in the notation line.
More information about Friends of the Smokies is available online at www.friendsofthesmokies.org.