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Lee is chamber Citizen of the Year

Posted on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 2:50 pm


Elena Cawley


For her volunteer work with students, Beverly Lee was named Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Friday during the annual chamber awards banquet.

Catherine Murray, serving as the event’s master of ceremonies, presented the award to Lee, citing her long and impressive career as a leader.

“Since returning to her hometown in Tullahoma five years ago, she has turned her attention to education about global issues that directly affected our community.”

Beverly Lee, a retired colonel with the U.S. Air Force Reserves, second from right, received the Citizen of the Year Award Friday from the Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce. With Lee are, from left, outgoing chamber president Ken Keller, master of ceremonies Catherine Murray and Hope Sartain, chamber executive director.
–Staff Photo by Cameron Adams

Lee, a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve colonel who served five years active duty and 25 years in the reserve, now works as an independent education counselor. She lived in Laguna Niguel, California before she returned to Tullahoma.

“I try to inspire students not to just dream, but to take action to make their dreams come true,” Lee said.

Lee has been stationed in Colorado, Nevada and Texas. Her military career includes assignments at the Pentagon, Arnold Air Force Base, Los Angeles, Florida and Boston. She served in Japan and Germany, too. Lee has also had special assignments in Hawaii and South Korea.

Since returning to Tullahoma, Lee has been an independent education consultant, assisting students in college preparation and applying for scholarships.

Currently, Lee is also counseling students at the Hands-On Science Center.

“As an education consultant, she discussed college and career option, inspiring students and adults to become science center’s ambassadors,” Murray said. “For every youth, she offered to help build their resumes and assist with educational and job pursuits.”

Lee has worked to offer workshops at the science center for interested students and parents of children who are beginning the college application process.

“She has completed over 40 resumes and letters of recommendation for our students,” Murray said.

For more than 10 years, Lee has also visited colleges and participated in events about leadership and empowering youth.

From 2015 to 2017, Lee served as the vice president of Tennessee World Affairs Council, a nonprofit organization with the mission to bring global awareness education programs to local communities and schools.

The organization sponsors the World Affairs Council Academic WorldQuest program for high school students throughout Tennessee. This statewide competition tests about 25 teams on their knowledge of international affairs, geography, history and culture.

Lee has been involved with organizations working to end slavery and human trafficking globally, with the goal to educate communities about this issue and empower them to battle it.

Lee is also a member of the Arnold Community Council. As a member, she has traveled to Washington, D.C. to discuss the mission of AEDC, STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) initiatives, and workforce development programs with members of congress.


Having a positive impact

Lee said she was surprised and humbled by the recognition.

“This was supposed to be a girls’ night out,” she said when she took the stage for her award. “I’m shocked.”

Lee said moving back to Tullahoma has offered opportunities she treasures.

“It’s been wonderful being back in Tullahoma,” Lee said. “It’s been interesting to be here with people who do what I do, which is taking action.”

Grabbing the opportunity to make a positive impact is what motivates her, said Lee.

“If you see something is wrong, do something about it,” Lee said. “If you want to do something, do it.”

Lee said she is also honored to be part of the Tullahoma community.

“(Being) here with successful business and community leaders is truly inspiring,” Lee said. “I’m in awe of everything you do.”

According to Lee, the HOSC has offered her a way to provide guidance for students and to promote learning.

“Since I’ve been here, my car has 110,000 miles on it because I travel and go to museums and science centers to get the best ideas,” Lee said.

Most of the centers she visits are located in big cities that can afford elaborate expositions, she said.

“And yet, this community has created such a unique resource for over 100 exhibits, which is what the centers at the big cities offer.”

The concepts Tullahoma has implemented to educate youth have been successful and have provided inspiration for Lee.

“What you’ve created here is truly inspiring,” Lee said. “I am proud of our city.”


Other recognitions

The annual awards celebration allows the chamber to recognize its committee members, ambassadors and directors and to present various awards to members who have worked to promote the community and its businesses.


New board installed

During the event, outgoing president Ken Keller turned over the presidential reins to incoming president Lenore Blackwell.

Supporting Blackwell on the 2018 board of directors will be President-elect Michelle Earle, Vice President Chelsea Dochety and Secretary-Treasurer Donna Bradford.

Keller will continue to serve on the chamber board as past president.


Additional awards

In addition to naming the chamber’s Citizen of the Year, the following awards were presented:

Nancy Fuller received the 2017 President’s Award.

Lester, Greene, McCord & Thoma Insurance received the Business of the Year Award.

Cat Murray received the Loretta Welch CEO Business Partner of the Year Award.

Hampton Creek received the Member’s Choice Small Business of the Year Award.

Jackie Lendley received the Ambassador of the Year Award.

Mike and Cindy Snead with BluBearz ‘N Friendz received the Extra Miler Award.

Elena Cawley may be reached by email at tngenrep@lcs.net.