The first came last December when Brenda Abel, longtime president and CEO of United Way of Bradley County Inc., concluded a successful 36-year career at one of our hometown’s most respected people-service organizations.
Now, Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region President Sandy Moore is doing the same after giving 20 years of her life to this youth-friendly initiative, the last 11 of which have been as president of the Cleveland affiliate. Although her well-deserved retirement takes effect Friday, Sandy will remain with the organization as a volunteer where she will concentrate her multiple talents on classroom instruction, volunteer recruitment and public awareness.
She makes this commitment to continue trumpeting the message of JA at great personal sacrifice. That’s because Sandy has earned the right to slow down, to appreciate the relaxing side of life, to travel and to spend some extra-special, quality time with her grandchildren.
Yet, when one is in love with a career, regardless of length yet especially because of length, it is difficult to sever complete ties.
We are happy for Sandy in her retirement, yet we are much happier she has chosen to remain with the organization as a capable, and totally dedicated, volunteer.
We know many others feel the same whether they are members of the Junior Achievement family or residents of any of the communities in Bradley, McMinn, Monroe, Meigs and Polk counties for whose children she has advocated as a willing partner within their respective school systems.
It is this audience of friends, fans, family and followers who will be most passionate about attending a brief reception Thursday in Sandy’s honor. The informal drop-in event will be just that — casual and with a door open to all.
Scheduled for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce in The Village Green from 4:30 to 6 p.m., the recognition won’t include an established program, no pomp and very little circumstance. Instead, it will offer what makes Sandy most comfortable — a low-profile atmosphere filled with friends, teachers, government and education leaders, and volunteers whose shared vision is a world that welcomes the next generation without fear, dread or intimidation.
Rick Platz, chairman of the JA board of directors, said it best when he told our newspaper, “Sandy returned to Cleveland to take the reins of JA [11 years ago] at a very critical time in the organization’s history. With the help of key board members, she restored financial stability to JA and then led the charge to take JA to a new level. She will be sorely missed!”
Others feel the same.
One is Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis who is quick to point to her positive influence on the children of Southeast Tennessee.
“Sandy’s dedication to area youth and her leadership at the helm of Junior Achievement will be greatly missed,” the county mayor told us. “Under her guidance, JA has had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of young people who are now better prepared for the real world.”
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland points to the size of heart required for one to be so passionate about a single cause.
“Junior Achievement will miss Sandy,” the Cleveland mayor offered. “She has poured her heart into making it first class. Sandy’s leadership has brought JA to new heights. The benefactors are the many young people who have gone through the program and developed the business leadership skills that will have a lasting effect on their lives.”
Sandy Moore truly has served as the face and voice of Junior Achievement.
We encourage community residents, local government leaders, educators, friends and parents of JA-empowered children to drop in on this tenderhearted civic servant during Thursday’s reception.
It could become an emotional time for some, but one well worth the experience.