Citizen of the Year
Honored. That’s how William Stone felt to be named Citizen of the Year at Monday’s Farm-City Awards Banquet, presented by the Franklin County Extension System.
“I have lived here all my life, and I know most of these people,” said Stone, gesturing to a roomful at the A.W. Todd Centre. “For them to give me an award like that – you couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Stone was among seven adults to be recognized Monday, along with more than a dozen children who entered the Farm-City coloring, poster and essay contests. Along with Stone, the following were recognized for their achievements and contributions to Franklin County:
- Victor Porter, Cooperator of the Year: Porter was noted for his 78-acre cattle farm with improvements including watering facilities, heavy use areas, future conservation planning and cross fences.
- Pilgrim’s Pride, Community Development Award: Pilgrim’s received recognition for supporting the local community, serving as a major employer in Franklin County and maintaining high collaborative efforts among themselves, county residents and local charitable organizations. The award was accepted by Pilgrim’s community liaison Jose Guerrero.
- Jackie Richardson, Youth Development Award: Richardson received recognition as director of Rustic Youth Camp, which he has operated for the past 35 year, inspiring children to love God and their country and involving them in activities like basket weaving, wooden bowl making, painting, bead making, sports, games and more.
- Gannon and Kristin Nunley, Farm Family of the Year: The Nunleys, along with children Cooper and Adallie, were noted for their 70-acre poultry farm and their Hereford and Brangus cattle, along with Gannon’s involvement in Franklin County Farmers Federation’s Young Farmers and Kristin work as agriscience teacher and FFA adviser.
- Kelly Champion, Education Development in Agriculture Award: Champion was honored for her efforts to communicate agriculture through literacy, as the author of “Watermelon Man,” released this year, which honors her father Roy Grissom.
- Charles Ezzell, Farmer of the Year and Agricultural Lifetime Achievement Award: Ezzell was selected for this award based on his lifelong interest and devotion to farming, including serving on the Farm Bureau Board of Directors; serving as president of the Franklin County Farmers Federation; working with the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association; participating in the Farm PAC; and making improvements over the years to his 120-head cattle operation.
Stone, for his part, was touted as giving tirelessly of his time and other resources to the community, including though his enlistment in the National Guard; his employment with Russellville Electric; his efforts for TVA conservation programs; his involvement with the local Civitan Club, including serving as its president; and his action with the West Elementary PTA, Cub Scouts, Russellville Band Parents, youth baseball, Relay for Life and Meals on Wheels.
Stone, however, approaches his myriad achievements with humility.
“There’s a lot of people who deserve this more than I do, really and truly. That’s how I feel about it,” Stone said.
This was the 61st anniversary of Farm-City, and this year’s observance was centered around the theme “Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet.”
Franklin County Extension Coordinator Katernia Cole-Coffey said she though the banquet was a success. “We had a great turnout. Everybody was excited, and we had great participation from the citizens who came out to support,” she said. “It’s a time we reflect and say thank you to our farmers and the rural townspeople who help make our agricultural distribution system the envy of the world.”
Commissioner Rayburn Massey led the Farm-City Prayer. 4-H Youth Advisory Council’s Caitlin Brown led the Pledge of Allegiance. Probate Judge Barry Moore said grace over the food. Alissa Young and Buford Parker provided mealtime entertainment. Food was prepared by Outlaw BBQ and Franklin County Cattlemen.
At the banquet, contest winners were also awarded, including the following:
- Pre-K Coloring: First place Carsen Lindley, second place Ty Hester and third place Levi Johnson (all of Red Bay Freewill Baptist, teacher Drenda Holland). Honorable mentions, Bryant Payne, Constance Farr and Jacie Hawkins (all of Vina High School, teacher Shea Miller).
- K-3 Poster: First place Anna Norton, Phil Campbell Elementary, teacher Andrea Wade; second place Anna Kate Burks, Vina High, teachers Cassie Reed and Leigh Burks; and third place Madi Willis, West Elementary, teacher Rhonda Lier.
- 4-6 Poster: First place Autumn Montgomery, Tharptown Elementary, teacher Brooke Harris; second place Lindsay Everett, Belgreen High, teacher Rachel Hammond; third place Haley Hanson, Vina High, teacher Jamie Payne; fourth place, Jessie Mitchell, Tharptown Elementary, teacher Kristy Smith; and fourth place Edwin Vela, Tharptown Elementary, teacher Kristy Smith.
- 7-9 Essay: First place Melissa Gaspar, Russellville Middle, teacher Rachel Agee; and second place Taidy Vela, Tharptown High, teacher Linda Spurgeon.