TNCO is a statewide trade association for community organizations that provide services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tennessee.
Today’s presentation was made by Dr. Luke Queen, chief executive officer and executive director of Life Bridges Inc. of Cleveland, an organization that operates almost 40 housing units for area residents in need of these services.
Elected to the state Legislature in 2007, Brooks also serves as assistant majority leader of the House of Representatives in support of House Speaker Beth Harwell.
The award was a surprise to Brooks who has spent countless hours in support of organizations that provide community services to residents with these types of disabilities, and in many cases who require around-the-clock care.
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, who received the TNCO Citizen of the Year Award in 2009, was on hand as a special guest to witness the presentation to the Cleveland legislator.
“I am very proud of the impact Kevin Brooks has had in the 24th Legislative District and the entire state of Tennessee,” Rowland said. “He has valuable characteristics that make him excel in his role as a legislature. He has character, compassion and a genuine desire to be of service.”
Because Brooks was unaware of the nature of today’s award, which took place at noon, his reactions will be covered in Thursday’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner.
Rowland, whose 20-year tenure as Cleveland mayor includes countless travels statewide and to Washington, D.C. as the city’s ambassador, said Brooks is a well-recognized lawmaker in Nashville and is respected by his peers on both sides of the political aisle.
“Any time I am at the state capital for city business, I hear compliments from agencies praising the effective leadership of Kevin Brooks as Cleveland’s state representative,” Rowland stressed. “Kevin is well-respected in Nashville at all levels, and most definitely by his peers.”
The Cleveland mayor added, “It is only fitting that TNCO recognize him for being one of the best of the best.”
TNCO member organizations, of which Life Bridges is one, provide a full array of services such as residential, day and supported employment to approximately 8,000 Tennessee residents with disabilities. In Cleveland, Life Bridges recently opened two new residential units that provide full care to its service recipients on Kile Lake Road.
TNCO organizations employ almost 12,000 people who work from front-line direct support to supervisors, managers and directors, as well as a variety of other qualified professionals including nurses. TNCO members provide services to 79 percent of the people in Tennessee who receive waiver services from the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
TDIDD is led by state Commissioner Jim Henry who earlier this year visited the new Life Bridges units in Cleveland during a statewide tour in which the Gov. Bill Haslam appointee spent time explaining state budget mandates and how they would impact his state department.
During today’s presentation, Brooks was recognized in receiving the Legislator of the Year Award as being “one of the best and brightest” across the state, according to Queen who was Brooks’ classmate at Lee University. Both are Lee alumni.
The Life Bridges leader said Brooks’ award is based on “... his accomplishments, triumphs and dedication to service.”
Queen added, “TNCO member organizations each year honor leaders in various categories. Those receiving these awards are labeled as the year’s most brilliant” in the work they perform at the state level and on behalf of TNCO, its member groups and service recipients whose lives are changed are on a daily basis by the care they receive, Queen noted.
In the House of Representatives, Brooks serves as vice chair of the Children and Family Affairs Committee, and is a member of the Education, Finance, Ways and Means, and Rules committees in his legislative branch. Brooks also chairs the Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on school re-districting.
He is employed in public relations and conference management with the Church of God International Offices in Cleveland. Brooks is an officer and board member of Cleveland Rotary Club, a former board member of MainStreet Cleveland and a former division chair for United Way of Bradley County Inc.
Brooks also is a former member of the Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission.