Milligan recognizes 13 for service to God, community

Published 2:22 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Servant leadership is one of the key components of an education at Milligan College. Students are expected to put their education into action and go out to serve the community.

On Tuesday afternoon, the college took the opportunity to recognize 13 servant leaders in the community during the annual Leaders in Christian Service convocation.

“Servant leadership is a passion to put the needs of others before your own,” Milligan College President Bill Greer said. “The purpose to serve others is in God’s will. Each is to use their own passion, gifts and aspirations for the service of God.”

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During the ceremony, 13 servant leaders were recognized for their efforts in the area and around the world.

Each person was presented with an award depicting a basin and a towel, referencing the moment when Jesus washed his disciples feet in John 13.

“Jesus took a towel and basin and with it He redefined greatness,” Greer said. “ The towel and basin we present today symbolizes the lives of Christ servants. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the supreme example of servant leadership. He can as a servant to do his Father’s will, and we are called as his disciples to follow in his footsteps.”

The 2015 Leaders in Christian Service honorees include:

– Mary Ann Blessing, Bristol, Tenn., is the director of Kingsway Charities. She attends Highlands Fellowship.

“Through her leadership, King’s Way Charities has distributed over $150 million of medications and medical supplies into third world countries each year,” Richard Majors, Milligan theater professor and leaders in Christian Service announcer.

– Joe Carr, Jonesborough, is an executive vice president at the Bank of Tennessee. He attends Fairview United Methodist Church.

“He serves throughout the community in many ways, giving his time to Habitat for Humanity, Coalition for Kids and the Kiwanis Club,” Major said. “He has led two mission teams to the Czech Republic and has spent extensive time visiting churches to share his mission experience. Joe serves as a role model for leadership, family values and service to God.”

-Jeff Clements, Johnson City, is a mechanical engineer at Eastman Chemical Company. He attends Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church.

“In 2003, as a college senior, Jeff experienced a life-changing event,” Major said. “He went from an active, athletic college student to a young man in need of a life-saving transplant. After depending on a mechanical heart pump for almost eight months, he received a heart transplant. Jeff gives generously of his time in Upward Bound basketball program and Tennessee Donor Services.”

– Kyle Colvett, Johnson City, is a physician at Mountain States Health Alliance and is director of the radiation oncology unit. He attends Family Fellowship Church, where he is a founding member.

“An Army veteran, Dr. Colvett continues to serve his country as an expert in radiation emergency and terrorism,” Major said.

– Ed Gibbons, Jonesborough, is the owner of Watauga Insurance in Johnson City. He attends Central Baptist Church, and is a Navy veteran.

“He is a long-time member of the Lions Club and is currently serving as it’s district governor,” Major said. “He was also named the 2014 Insurer of the Year by the Insurers of Tennessee.”

– Rebecca Henderson, Johnson City, is a consultant at Strategic Priorities Consulting. She attends First Christian Church.

“Rebecca Henderson has a long list of volunteer organizations in which she has used her gifts and talents to make a difference in our communities,” Major said. Henderson helps non-profits formulate strategic action plans and redevelop their by-laws, he continued. 

– Stephen and Trida LaHair, Kingsport, are the owners of Chef’s Pizzeria and Southern Barbeque. They attends First Baptist of Kingsport.

“The LaHairs are strong servant leaders in many organizations throughout the community,” Major said. “They provide food services and food for many events. They have routinely donated food quietly and without accolade. They work selflessly through their business and offer a meal with a personal touch.”

– Bill Lizzio, Johnson City, is the owner of Lizzio Development Company. He attends First Christian Church. Lizzio has been involved in Boy Scouts since 1990 when he started the first Tiger Cub pack in Knoxville. He served as troop master for 17 years and recently became involved in Trail Life USA and has helped form a local organization.

“Mr. Lizzio has a strong passion for training young men to be godly and to prepare future generations,” Major said.

τ Tim Morganstern, Jonesborough, is a chiropractor at the Jonesborough Chiropractic Clinic. He attends Jonesborough United Methodist Church.

“Dr. Tim serves as a Gideon and is active in the prison ministry in Mountain City,” Major said.

– Charles Nitschke, of Kingsport, Tennessee, is the retired director of business organization at Eastman. He attends Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Kingsport.

“A member of Kiwanis for over 37 years, Mr. Nitschke dedicates his volunteer hours to the Kingsport Boys and Girls Club, the Interfaith Hospitality Network and is a driver for Meals on Wheels,” Major said. “He quietly and humbly steps in to complete any task that needs to be completed from leadership to manual labor. He has a heart for helping those in need, particularly children.”

– Kathy Sanders, Kingsport, is the owner of Tri-Cities Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. She attends Colonial Heights Baptist Church in Kingsport.

“She works with the Give Back a Smile program to bring cosmetic dental care to domestic violence victims,” Major said. “Dr. Sanders has a strong desire to glorify Jesus Christ through her work as a dentist and with her relationship with fellow dentist and friends.”

– Thurman Walters, Johnson City, is a healthcare technician at James H. Quillen Veterans Administration Medical Center. He attends Friendship Baptist Church.

“Mr. Walters first came to the VA, not as an employee but as a patient,” Major said. “He moved to Johnson City in 2000, homeless and addicted to drugs and alcohol. After completing a treatment program, Mr. Walters dedicated his life to serving veterans. His ministry to veterans is steadfast, persistent and consistent. People are amazed at his dedication to stay the course even amidst the rejection he sometimes receives from those he is determined to serve.”

The Leaders in Christian Service program was introduced in 2001.