Tribute to Women in the Arts in Bristol04.24.2006
BRISTOL, TN — Five area women were honored Thursday night for their contributions in four separate categories; arts, business and professional, education, and volunteer community service. Nominees and their guests were honored at the annual YWCA Tribute to Women banquet with over 300 in attendance. The banquet was held at the Centre in Bristol, Tennessee.
This year's recipients of honors in the arts category were Ernestine Blanton and Evelyn Hawkins, both of Bristol, Tennessee. The honoree in the business and professional category was Elliott G. Moore, Director of Community and Government Relations for Mountain States Health Alliance. Dr. Dawn Heterick Werner, a teacher at Fairmount Elementary School took honors in the education category; and Virginia Gunn received Tribute honors in the area of volunteer community service.
Also honored was guest speaker Dr. Katherine Foreman, who for more than 25 years has researched, written, edited and lectured on diverse subjects including women's experiences in higher education, women's literature, corporate learning technology, and public policy issues in state and federal government. Dr. Foreman joined the YWCA in honoring Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson with an illustrated presentation "The Fine Mind and Zealous Spirit of Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson." The National YWCA also presented a Resolution to Tom and Rita Copenhaver of Marion, Virginia and Pete and Susan Copenhaver of Ocean City, Maryland in honor of their aunt's four decades of devotion to the YWCA's mission. Through her YWCA position Eleanor championed the rights of women working in textile mills and was able to improve their working conditions.
Ernestine Blanton is not only an esteemed artist, but a master teacher of the arts she loves. Ernestine taught at Vance Middle School where she instituted a formal watercolor curriculum, which has consistently produced national award-winning student art. She has participated in nationally recognized watercolor painting workshops throughout the US, which not only furthered her expertise, but also allowed her to better infuse technique and appreciation to her students. In 1987, Ernestine was voted Bristol, Tennessee Teacher of the Year, and in 1988, she received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Tennessee
Ernestine and her husband, Lawson, also maintained an art gallery and frame shop in Bristol for many years. Currently, she is the volunteer Visual Arts Coordinator for the Healing Hands Arts Festival at Bristol Regional Medical Center, an annual event that promotes the integration of healing and the arts. She is the co-founder and member of Faith in the Arts, an organization that examines the concept of art in religion. Hanging on the rear wall of First United Methodist Church, is one of her most humbling pieces, a pair of praying hands symbolizing a shield of protection for our loved ones in the Armed Forces. Her passion and compassion are widespread through her art and teaching in our community.
For more than thirty years, Evelyn Hawkins has been a leading advocate for the arts. Evelyn and her husband co-founded the Bristol Arts Guild (BAG) in 1971. This guild of artists enhanced the cultural life of the area and has increased membership in the following years. Evelyn organized countless art exhibits displaying work by the best local, regional and national artists. These same artists have presented workshops for children and adults, established during Evelyn's tenure as President at BAG.
Evelyn developed judged and juried competitive art shows, originated the newsletter for BAG and has served as its editor for almost 30 years. She has worked tirelessly to increase membership and to improve opportunities for artists to learn their craft and have an extensive venue to exhibit their work. She was President of the Tri-Cities Art Guild and served as the Regional Director of the Tennessee Watercolor Society and served on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Highlands Festival, one of the top festivals in the nation.
Evelyn and her husband, Beryl, both accomplished artists themselves, have been visionaries, activists and teachers who have forged a renaissance age for the arts in our community.
Elliott G. Moore
Elliott Moore, selected as one of "Twenty-Five Women of Influence" by the Business Journal of Tri-Cities, certainly lives up to her title. While in college at the University of Alabama, Elliott directed a tutorial program for low-income children, which later became part of the federal VISTA program. Her career has been a starburst of positive impact, from individual casework to administration to advocacy.
In her twenties, Elliott served as the Executive Director of Catholic Charities in Knoxville. By 1983, she had become a leader in her profession as the Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers — Tennessee Chapter. In 1990, Elliott became President of the Hospital Alliance of Tennessee (HAT), an association advocating community owned not-for-profit hospitals. She has been nationally recognized in the media for her leadership in this organization.
In 2001, Elliott accepted a position as Director of Community and Government Relations for Mountain States Health Alliance. Elliott has carried our region's perspective on TennCare and Medicare reform to Nashville and to Washington D.C. She has been actively engaged in efforts to bring federal monies home to assist in the building of an expanded regional children's hospital in Johnson City.
Elliott is also currently President of the Bristol YMCA and a member of the Bristol Noon Rotary Club. Her drive, compassion, and advocacy are truly an inspiration to all and an asset to our community.
Dawn Heterick Werner, Ed.D.
Dawn Heterick Werner earned her B.A. in Office Administration from Virginia Intermont College, and her Masters and Doctorate of Education degrees from East Tennessee State University. She has been a leader in her field in countless ways. As a Title I teacher at Fairmount Elementary School in Bristol, Tennessee, she has served on numerous system-wide committees. She has chaired the Language Arts Curriculum Alignment Committee as well as co-chairing the Writing Curriculum Alignment Committee to assure the school system curriculum meets state standards. She has served on several textbook and assessment committees in the areas of Reading, Math and Science. As a member of Fairmount's Planning Team, her top priority is taking care of the students and making Fairmont the best possible learning environment.
Dr. Werner has conducted parent training workshops as well as ADD/ADHD workshops at the Early Childhood Conference in Johnson City, TN. In 2006, she was recognized as Tennessee Teacher of the Year. Dr. Werner has written and received several grants to enhance learning at Fairmount, including a $30,000 Title I Grant for at-risk students and their parents, a Goals 2000 Grant that made it possible to create a computer lab, and a grant to purchase books and software for the Accelerated Reader Program. Dr. Werner has also worked with the Santa Pal program, Coats for Kids and has coached and judged Odyssey of the Mind.
Virginia Gunn is a passionate volunteer. Whether it involves underprivileged children, women's issues, individuals without healthcare, or recruiting other volunteers to a cause, Virginia has always been an inspiration to others.
A Registered Nurse, Virginia works with Crossroads Medical Mission (CMM), a Christian mission and free healthcare clinic on wheels. When a mountain of medical supplies had been donated to the mission, Virginia jumped in and spent weeks sorting through medical supplies and rusted outdated items to determine viable materials for CMM. As Pharmaceutical Coordinator, Virginia organized volunteers and set up procedures for the inventory of supplies, as well as organizing and accounting for donated and purchased medications. When traveling to Crossroads partnership sites, Virginia registers patients, takes vital signs and many times, arranges for transportation for patients who have no way to get to the site.
Virginia has been active in Bristol / Virginia Head Start program, volunteering with crafts, reading to children, fundraising, and securing book donations. Virginia volunteered for over 8 years with the YWCA, initiating the YWCA First Ladies program as well as working on the YW Capital Campaign. Virginia also worked as the Volunteer Clinical Coordinator for Healing hands, a healthcare facility for the uninsured.
This brief sketch of her volunteer resume barely illuminates the breadth and depth of her positive impact in our community.