By SAM HATCHER Congratulations to the Wilson County Civic League for its 25 years of service to our community. This organization has done much since its beginning to help heal the wounds and divisions created during a tumultuous period in our history in which race relations were strained. Although the Wilson County Civic League continues to promote race relations and harmony within our community, the organization has in recent years turned its focus to other important issues many of which are directed toward youth and helping to prepare disadvantaged youth for a more promising future. This point was emphasized last Saturday night at the Civic League's annual fundraising dinner, when the emcee for the occasion, Mike Jones, a former defensive tackle for the Tennessee Titans, told of his interest in youth and in helping youth to succeed in life.
Mr. Jones, who lives here, generated laughter throughout the audience when he said jokingly that he had made a living out of hitting people, referring to his career in football, but when he spoke about his role with youth he got favorable nods and voices of appreciation.
"I believe in our kids," he said. "I believe in telling them that no matter what they are going through they can make a difference."
He challenged the audience attending to begin "investing in our youth," adding that "we have got to get our kids to believe" that they have the opportunity ahead to succeed in life and to make a difference.
Mr. Jones was on the program Saturday night with Cracker Barrel Foundation President Norman Hill, who was the keynote speaker for the evening. Others on the program included Civic League President Ronnie Kelley, past President Harry Watkins Jr. and former Lebanon City Councilor Fred Burton.
Also an important part of Saturday night's program was the recognition of Mary Harris for the work and time she has committed in trying to secure funding and resources in order to restore one of the community's most historic buildings, Pickett Chapel on East Market Street in Lebanon.
Mrs. Harris was presented the Humanitarian Award by the Civic League for her leadership and devotion to this historically significant project. Pickett Chapel, built in 1827, is regarded as the oldest brick building in Wilson County.