Benjamin Walls to Make Fifth Smithsonian Museum Appearance – Celebration Planned in Bristol

Bristol, Va.— A new image by Benjamin Walls will be featured in the Windland Smith Rice International Awards exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. This is Walls’ fifth image to be featured at the Smithsonian. He will be recognized during the opening reception at the Smithsonian on Thursday, Nov. 15.

Named after Windland Smith Rice, a photographer and conservationist, the 23rd annual Nature’s Best Photography Awards exhibition presents breathtaking fine art prints and short videos that highlight the best of nature photography. Walls’ image, titled “Zebra Hide,” was acclaimed as Highly Honored in the African Wildlife category. The image was one of 60 images selected to be displayed out of more than 26,000 entries from 59 countries.

“Zebra Hide” depicts the thin stripes of an endangered Grevy’s Zebra from the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. The image is one of five works in Walls’ new Hide series, currently on display at the Benjamin Walls Fine Art Gallery, located at 701 State Street in downtown Bristol, Virginia. Additionally, the work will be published in the 2018 Fall/Winter Special Collector’s Edition of Nature’s Best Photography Magazine.

“Human cultures around the world have traditionally used animal hides in their homes for both form and function, and we have a natural affinity for wild and exotic animal hides,” Walls says. “With this new series, I’m bringing a wild element into my collectors’ personal spaces — pieces that portray an animal’s essence, without any distractions.

“We all know zebras have stripes, but I want this piece to speak to the mesmerizing power and complexity of those stripes. We tend to forget that African animals are threatened, but I want folks to remember that this majestic animal, which is the largest and most threatened of the three species of zebra, remains endangered. There are only 2,000 of these majestic Grevy’s zebras left in the wild. We all have a role to play in conservation, and it starts with awareness.”

The Benjamin Walls Gallery will host a reception from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, at the State Street location to celebrate Walls’ most recent accolade. Members of the public are invited to attend and hear the story behind Walls’ new Hide series at 7 p.m., followed by the unveiling of his new work from Grandfather Mountain. A book signing will take place at 8 p.m. Admission to the event is $10 and free-of-charge for collectors of the Benjamin Walls Gallery. Special pricing on Walls’ work will take place in conjunction with the celebration.

Walls is the winner of seven international awards, and his work has been displayed in more than four dozen museums in 12 countries. The Benjamin Walls Gallery earned top honors in the Best Art Gallery category of Virginia Living Magazine’s 2018 Best of Virginia Awards. Additionally, Walls is a recipient of the 2017 Arts Achievement Award presented by the Arts Alliance Mountain Empire (AAME) and A! Magazine for the Arts for his contributions to the arts in the Tri-Cities region, and for serving as a mentor and source of inspiration for others.

About Benjamin Walls

Benjamin Walls is a results-oriented environmentalist and community advocate whose work benefits local community and environmental charities. An internationally recognized artist, Walls has traveled more than 1 million miles over the past 12 years, photographing on every continent save Antarctica, and has established himself as the artist to watch in the fastest-growing segment of the visual arts — fine art photography. In 2015, Walls leveraged his extensive travel expertise in Africa to establish WALLS about Travel which offers exceptionally crafted, personalized journeys for small or private groups to his most intriguing African destinations. He currently serves on the Roots& Shoots and Development Committee for the Jane Goodall Institute, a global community conservation organization that promotes the understanding and protection of chimpanzees and their habitat. Walls currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina, where he is pursuing the establishment of a second gallery. For more information about Benjamin Walls or the Benjamin Walls Fine Art Gallery, visit www.benjaminwalls.com.

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For more information, contact Anita Melchor Slavkoff, special projects director,
Benjamin Walls Gallery, by phone 877-989-2557, ext. 8,
email anita@benjaminwalls.com,
or visit the company at www.benjaminwalls.com.

Five-Time Smithsonian Exhibitor Seeks to Open Second Gallery in Downtown Asheville

Asheville, N.C.— A new image by Asheville resident Benjamin Walls will be featured in the Windland Smith Rice International Awards exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Walls will be recognized during the opening cocktail reception at the Smithsonian on Thursday, Nov. 15. This is his fifth image to be featured at the Smithsonian.

The 23rd annual awards exhibition presents breathtaking fine art photographs that highlight the best of nature photography. Walls’ image, titled “Zebra Hide,” was acclaimed as Highly Honored in the African Wildlife category. The image was one of 60 images selected to be displayed out of more than 26,000 entries from 59 countries.

“Zebra Hide” depicts the thin stripes of an endangered Grevy’s Zebra from the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. The image is one of five works in Walls’ new Hide series, currently on display at the original Benjamin Walls Fine Art Gallery, located at 701 State Street in downtown Bristol, Virginia. Additionally, the work will be published in the 2018 Fall/Winter Special Collector’s Edition of Nature’s Best Photography Magazine.

“We all know zebras have stripes, but I want this piece to speak to the mesmerizing power and complexity of those stripes,” Walls says. “We tend to forget that African animals are threatened, but I want folks to remember that this majestic animal, which is the largest and most threatened of the three species of zebra, remains endangered. There are only 2,000 of these majestic Grevy’s zebras left in the wild. We all have a role to play in conservation, and it starts with awareness.”

Walls is the winner of seven international awards, and his work has been displayed in more than four dozen museums in 12 countries. He is a results-oriented environmentalist and community advocate whose work often benefits local environmental charities including Friends of the Smokies and the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. Walls has long-standing ties to Western North Carolina and moved to Asheville in the spring in search of a retail location for his second signature gallery in the city’s downtown district.

“My two great passions in life are art and conservation, and I’ve long admired how those cultures thrive in Asheville. I’ve always wanted to open a gallery here, and I’m excited to finally give it a go.”

Walls has yet to secure a new space, but remains undeterred.

“Asheville is thriving, and I’m searching for a 3,000 square-foot space where I can welcome guests and display my work. This will be a long-term home for my second gallery, and I am confident my patience in finding the perfect spot will pay off.”

About Benjamin Walls

An internationally recognized artist, Walls has traveled more than 1 million miles over the past 12 years, photographing on every continent save Antarctica, and has established himself as the artist to watch in the fastest-growing segment of the visual arts — fine art photography. In 2015, Walls leveraged his extensive travel expertise in Africa to establish WALLSabout Travel which offers exceptionally crafted, personalized journeys for small or private groups to his most intriguing African destinations. He currently serves on the Roots & Shoots and Development Committee for the Jane Goodall Institute, a global community conservation organization that promotes the understanding and protection of chimpanzees and their habitat. For more information about Benjamin Walls or the Benjamin Walls Fine Art Gallery, visit www.benjaminwalls.com.

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For more information, contact Anita Melchor Slavkoff, special projects director,
Benjamin Walls Gallery, by phone at 877-989-2557, ext. 8,
email anita@benjaminwalls.com,
or visit the company at www.benjaminwalls.com.

Farris Funeral Service November Learning Series Offers Advice on Coping with Grief During the Holidays

ABINGDON, Va. — Farris Funeral Service & Crematory will host the fourth installment of its 2018 Learning Series at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 19, at the Forest Hills Chapel, located at 19415 Lee Highway in Abingdon, Virginia.

Kim Farris-Luke, president and owner of Abingdon-based Farris Funeral Service & Crematory, will present “Hope for the Holidays: A Conversation About Grief.”

“Memories of good times and togetherness during the holiday season often serve to remind us of our loss,” Farris-Luke says. “Particularly in the first year, many bereaved are left with having to develop new holiday rituals and traditions. While there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holiday season after the death of a loved one, this event will provide attendees with insight into the grief process and tips for understanding and coping with these challenges.”

Admission is free-of-charge and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided, and each attendee will receive a keepsake and resource guide on dealing with grief during the holidays.

For more information or to RSVP, call (276) 623-2700 or email farrisdirector@gmail.com.

About Farris Funeral Service & Crematory

Founded in 1952, Farris Funeral Service & Crematory is the only Washington County, Virginia, funeral home that has been owned and managed by the same family throughout its history. This continuity provides the organization unparalleled perspective on the services, administrative assistance and emotional support needed during the bereavement process. Farris’ spacious facilities offer a number of conveniences, including a full-service reception center available for gatherings and meals, comfortable meeting areas and ample parking. Administrative offerings include assistance with the filing of essential documents, as well as a number of grief education and counseling programs. For more information, call (276) 623-2700 or visit www.farrisfuneralservice.com.

 

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For more information, contact Kim Farris-Luke,
president/owner of Farris Funeral Service & Crematory,
at 276-623-2700.

Farris Funeral Service October Learning Series Provides a Modern-Day Outlook on Cremation

ABINGDON, Va. — Farris Funeral Service & Crematory will host the second installment of its 2018 Learning Series at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, at the Forest Hills Chapel, located at 19415 Lee Highway in Abingdon, Virginia.

Mike Farris, manager of Abingdon-based Farris Funeral Service & Crematory, will present “A Contemporary Approach to Cremation” in an informal, question-and-answer/discussion setting.

“Cremation is a topic in which Washington County residents are beginning to express an interest, especially as the public’s preference for cremation continues to rise,” Farris says. “We often receive questions about the various options for a cremation service, if there are any rules or regulations for dispersing ashes in Northeast Tennessee or Southwest Virginia, and if you can have a private or public viewing prior to a cremation ceremony. We look forward to providing participants with the opportunity to learn more about cremation and answering their questions.”

The event is free-of-charge and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.

For more information or to register, call (276) 623-2700 or email farrisdirector@gmail.com.

About Farris Funeral Service & Crematory

Farris Funeral Service & Crematory celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2017, and is the only Washington County, Virginia, funeral home that has been owned and managed by the same family throughout its history. This continuity provides the organization unparalleled perspective on the services, administrative assistance and emotional support needed during the bereavement process. Farris’ spacious facilities offer a number of conveniences, including a full-service reception center available for gatherings and meals, comfortable meeting areas and ample parking. Administrative offerings include assistance with the filing of essential documents, as well as a number of grief education and counseling programs. For more information, call (276) 623-2700 or visit www.farrisfuneralservice.com.

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For more information, contact Kim Farris-Luke,
president/owner of Farris Funeral Service & Crematory,
at 276-623-2700.

City of Gallatin Risk Manager Receives Excellence in Risk Management Award

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. ― City of Gallatin Risk Manager JamiAnn Hannah received an Excellence in Risk Management Award at The Pool’s third annual Risk & Insurance Symposium, held Aug. 22 – 24 in Franklin, Tennessee.

The Tennessee Municipal League Risk Management Pool, more commonly known as The Pool, is the state’s leader in providing insurance and risk management services for municipalities and public entities.

“The Excellence in Risk Management Award honors Pool members who have demonstrated excellence, innovation, creativity and commitment to providing quality safety and risk management programs within their entities,” says Dawn Crawford, president and CEO of The Pool. “We are pleased to recognize these members who go above and beyond to improve the safety of their workplaces and communities.”

Current Pool members who have completed a program to increase safety, reduce liability exposure, or protect and preserve property are eligible for the Excellence in Risk Management Award.

Hannah serves a city with nearly 450 full-time positions and more than 100 part-time and seasonal employees.

As risk manager for the City of Gallatin, Hannah maintains detailed records for city assets and educates department heads on coverage decisions. She helps identify the risk exposures of the city’s assets and recommends the best methods to control those exposures, monitors work environments and the use of equipment to ensure employee safety, and observes workers to determine optimal use of prescribed safety equipment and adherence to established safety procedures. She also assists departments in conducting inspections of equipment, working conditions in buildings, and job sites for compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regulations.

In addition, Hannah serves as the city’s main point of contact for all claims and coordinates them with the city attorney, investigates both injury and property incidents to ascertain causes, prepares reports of findings with recommendations for corrective action, and sets time limits for which locations should comply with recommendations. She serves as the city’s Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator, provides safety training for all departments and chairs the city safety committee. She has also served on the Tennessee Public Risk Management Association (TnPRIMA) board for several years.

“JamiAnn is proactive and progressive in her thinking,” says Chester Darden, loss control consultant with The Pool. “She has worked hard, and has been successful in ensuring every department within the city incorporates risk management and safety into their day-to-day tasks, and always strives to do the right thing, whether it’s popular or not.”

ABOUT THE POOL

The Pool is a nonprofit insurance cooperative in Tennessee that provides a broad range of insurance and risk management services for more than 90 percent of the state’s municipalities and local public agencies. With approximately 500 local government entities that participate in this voluntary, risk-sharing partnership, The Pool continuously works to enhance relationships with members to better serve their risk management and coverage needs.

The mission of The Pool is to passionately provide the very best in risk management products and services, expert claims administration and comprehensive insurance options with absolute integrity. With more than 35 years of experience in representing Tennessee municipal governments, The Pool is Tennessee’s leader in risk management services. For more information, visit www.thepool-tn.org or call 800-624-9698.

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City of Lawrenceburg Safety Director Receives Excellence in Risk Management Award

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. ― City of Lawrenceburg Safety Director Tina Sowell received an Excellence in Risk Management Award at The Pool’s third annual Risk & Insurance Symposium, held Aug. 22 – 24 in Franklin, Tennessee.

The Tennessee Municipal League Risk Management Pool, more commonly known as The Pool, is the state’s leader in providing insurance and risk management services for municipalities and public entities.

“The Excellence in Risk Management Award honors Pool members who have demonstrated excellence, innovation, creativity and commitment to providing quality safety and risk management programs within their entities,” says Dawn Crawford, president and CEO of The Pool. “We are pleased to recognize these members who go above and beyond to improve the safety of their workplaces and communities.”

Current Pool members who have completed a program to increase safety, reduce liability exposure, or protect and preserve property are eligible for the Excellence in Risk Management Award.

As safety director for the City of Lawrenceburg, Sowell has grown the city’s safety and risk management program. She conducts regular property and building inspections, makes loss control recommendations to directors, leads quarterly incident/accident review meetings, works to determine the root causes of accidents, and reviews all “near misses.” She also conducts monthly safety meetings with department heads and the city administrator, serves as the liaison between citizens and the city regarding safety concerns, serves as the city’s Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator, and is a certified playground safety inspector. In addition, Sowell oversees regular employee training for health, safety and accident prevention, and coordinates the city’s Drug-Free Workplace Program. She has accomplished all this while also serving as the administrative assistant to the public works director.

“Tina Sowell has worked tirelessly as our safety director to improve the safety environment and working conditions of all of our city employees,” said Doug Edwards, human resources director and benefits administrator for the City of Lawrenceburg. “Our expenses have steadily decreased each year as a result of her efforts. Tina has also implemented online safety training for all city employees, moved us closer to complete ADA compliance, achieved every possible OSHA certification, and taken all training opportunities to stay on the cutting edge of today’s municipal work safety concerns. Our city employees and taxpayers have all benefited from her shared knowledge.”

ABOUT THE POOL

The Pool is a nonprofit insurance cooperative in Tennessee that provides a broad range of insurance and risk management services for more than 90 percent of the state’s municipalities and local public agencies. With approximately 500 local government entities that participate in this voluntary, risk-sharing partnership, The Pool continuously works to enhance relationships with members to better serve their risk management and coverage needs.

The mission of The Pool is to passionately provide the very best in risk management products and services, expert claims administration and comprehensive insurance options with absolute integrity. With more than 35 years of experience in representing Tennessee municipal governments, The Pool is Tennessee’s leader in risk management services. For more information, visit www.thepool-tn.org or call 800-624-9698.

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Town of Jonesborough Fire Chief Receives Excellence in Risk Management Award

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. ― Town of Jonesborough Fire Chief Phil Fritts received an Excellence in Risk Management Award at The Pool’s third annual Risk & Insurance Symposium, held Aug. 22 – 24 in Franklin, Tennessee.

The Tennessee Municipal League Risk Management Pool, more commonly known as The Pool, is the state’s leader in providing insurance and risk management services for municipalities and public entities.

“The Excellence in Risk Management Award honors Pool members who have demonstrated excellence, innovation, creativity and commitment to providing quality safety and risk management programs within their entities,” says Dawn Crawford, president and CEO of The Pool. “We are pleased to recognize these members who go above and beyond to improve the safety of their workplaces and communities.”

Current Pool members who have completed a program to increase safety, reduce liability exposure, or protect and preserve property are eligible for the Excellence in Risk Management Award.

Fritts has been working to address the Town of Jonesborough’s risk management for nearly a decade. He put together a claims task force for water and/or sewer issues, and has worked with the directors of these departments to increase safety and ensure proper reporting of incidents and claims. He works with department heads to help increase awareness of the importance of proper accident/incident reporting, provides training for them on this topic, and helps them through the reporting process. Fritts has formed an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) committee, has written an ADA policy for the town, and has begun a review of all of the town’s properties and programs, including the town’s transition plan, to ensure ADA compliance. He schedules safety sensitive training for various departments, and makes certain that Material Safety Data Sheets are in place and kept up-to-date at the town’s different facilities.

This year, the town’s water park was recognized for its reduction of claims and lawsuits over the past several years. Fritts works closely with the water park director to ensure that appropriate chemical-handling methods are in place and followed, along with proper breathing apparatus and training, and that the lifeguards stay vigilant in enforcing the rules of the park. He does all of this while also meeting his duties as fire chief.

“I feel confident that the town’s workers’ compensation claims, lawsuits and damage claims in general have been greatly reduced over the last several years due to Chief Fritts’ tireless efforts to make Jonesborough safer for our employees, residents, patrons and visitors,” said Craig Ford, operations director for the City of Jonesborough.

ABOUT THE POOL

The Pool is a nonprofit insurance cooperative in Tennessee that provides a broad range of insurance and risk management services for more than 90 percent of the state’s municipalities and local public agencies. With approximately 500 local government entities that participate in this voluntary, risk-sharing partnership, The Pool continuously works to enhance relationships with members to better serve their risk management and coverage needs.

The mission of The Pool is to passionately provide the very best in risk management products and services, expert claims administration and comprehensive insurance options with absolute integrity. With more than 35 years of experience in representing Tennessee municipal governments, The Pool is Tennessee’s leader in risk management services. For more information, visit www.thepool-tn.org or call 800-624-9698.

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Ramsey, Farrar & Bates Adds to Government Relations Team

Campaign veteran and Ingram Group alum joins growing firm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ramsey, Farrar & Bates has hired Matt Russell to join its government relations team. Formerly of the Ingram Group, Russell is a respected political strategist and government relations professional who has represented clients at the local, state and federal levels.

“I have known Matt since he worked on his first Senate campaign,” says former Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, founding member of Ramsey, Farrar & Bates. “Matt was a critical member of our Senate political team and a valued legislative staff member. He is a great addition to our firm.”

Prior to joining the Ingram Group, Russell ran several campaigns across the state of Tennessee. In 2016, he managed Sen. Steve Dickerson to a 12-point victory over his Democratic opponent in a district President Donald Trump lost. Russell served in multiple roles with the state Senate, including as research analyst to the Senate’s Transportation and Safety Committee.

“We are excited to welcome Matt to our team at Ramsey, Farrar & Bates,” says Russell Farrar, founding partner of Nashville-based Farrar & Bates, and general counsel and lobbyist for Tennessee REALTORS. “Matt has years of legislative and political experience that will serve our clients well.”

In 2018, Ramsey brought his wealth of knowledge on state government and the legislative process to the well-established law and government relations firm, Farrar & Bates, to create its lobbying affiliate, Ramsey, Farrar & Bates, LLC. The firm represents a multitude of clients covering issues such as health care, local government, education, business, procurement and public safety. In addition to Ramsey and Farrar, the firm includes lobbyists Ross Smith and Addison Russell. Visit www.rfbgovrelations.com for more information.

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For more information, contact Russell Farrar
at russ.farrar@rfbgovrelations.com or 615-598-9100.

The American Legends Golf Tournament Drives $56.6 Million in Donations for Mountain Mission School

Single-day charitable total far surpasses previous PGA TOUR record  set at The Olde Farm in 2010

BRISTOL, Va. — One legendary day just generated a century’s worth of good.

The American Legends for Mountain Mission Kids, an all-star charitable golf tournament held today at The Olde Farm in Bristol, Virginia, grossed $56.6 million in support of the Mountain Mission School (MMS) endowment fund, which supports MMS. The total is the new largest single-day charitable gift in PGA TOUR history, significantly exceeding the previous gross record of $15 million set in 2010 by The Olde Farm’s Big 3 event, which featured Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and the late Arnold Palmer.

The tournament featured an iconic slate of sporting celebrities, including golf greats Nicklaus, Player, Lee Trevino, Lorena Ochoa, Tim Finchem, Lanny Wadkins and Betsy King; NFL icons Peyton Manning and Dan Marino; and star NBA coach and player Jerry West. Palmer was memorialized at the event, which fell on what would have been his 89th birthday.

“This is the result of an exciting partnership with a group of extraordinary athletes and sponsors,” said Jim McGlothlin, founder of The Olde Farm. “For 97 years, Mountain Mission School has provided a home, an extended family and high-quality education for children in need. Many generous hearts have created a much firmer foundation for the thousands of children the school serves — now, and in the century to come.”

Founded in Grundy, Virginia, in 1921, MMS is an accredited, non-profit school that provides stability, shelter, nourishment and a high-quality education for at-risk children. The school receives no federal or state funding, and for nearly a century has operated solely on financial gifts from patrons. One letter in the MMS archives documents a gift for six cents, while others have committed to much more.

Since its establishment, the school has served thousands of children from the United States and 70 additional countries. Students range in age from toddlers to older teens and represent diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Many have been rescued from abandonment, extreme poverty or violent environments.

“Our students come out of very difficult circumstances, but we know that their past does not define their potential,” said Chris Slone, president of MMS. “Our track record proves that the kind of supportive atmosphere we provide creates positive change. Not only do our patrons uphold a physical campus of brick and mortar — they help construct an environment of healing and hope, and we are very grateful for their support.”

Title sponsors of the event included Gregory Pharmaceutical Holdings, makers of Blue-Emu®, Food City, Johnson & Johnson, and the United Company.

“No doubt this is one of the finest charity golf events in the world,” Player said. “I recall being at The Olde Farm not too long ago with Jack and Arnold when we raised more than $15 million on the day, and I am blown away by the new record amount we have raised this year. Jim McGlothlin is a special man who continues to unselfishly contribute to society and specifically to children, whom as we know are the trustees of posterity.”

For more information on the event, visit www.theamericanlegends.com. Those who wish to donate to Mountain Mission School may do so at www.mmskids.org.

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YMCA of Bristol Names Matthews Chief Executive Officer

Bristol, Tenn. — Following a nationwide search process, Richard “Rick” Matthews has been named as the new chief executive officer (CEO) of the YMCA of Bristol. Matthews succeeds Chris Ayers, who will retire as CEO of the organization at the end of September.

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with nearly two decades of Y-related experience, Matthews will guide the organization’s long-range plan of transitioning to a higher level of membership service, while overseeing program development, staff training and ongoing capital improvements.

“Rick brings a diverse skillset and extensive leadership experience to the YMCA of Bristol, along with a passion for service and commitment to the community,” says Dwight Owens, chief volunteer officer for the Bristol Y. “He is full of enthusiasm and has a proven track record of success throughout his 19 years of service with the Y.”

Matthews comes to Bristol after serving for 13 years as district vice president for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads in Chesapeake, Virginia. In this position, he had oversight of three family centers, a regional day camp, a budget of more than $10 million, and 10,000 membership units totaling 26,000 individuals.

In 2017, while also serving as executive director of the Suffolk Family YMCA in Suffolk, Virginia, Matthews managed a $3.2 million renovation of the organization’s Family Center. Under Matthews’ leadership, the Suffolk Family YMCA’s budget increased from $2.4 million to $4.4 million. He was also responsible for raising $1.25 million in new program grants and $1 million in new capital donations, all while overseeing an annual campaign of $400,000 throughout his district.

“I am truly honored and blessed to be selected as the next CEO of the YMCA of Bristol,” Matthews says. “I pledge to work tirelessly to uphold and build upon the great legacies and traditions the Bristol Y has established. The future is bright, and I look forward to working with the amazing group of Y staff members, board of directors, community partners, local government leaders and others who are dedicated to positively impacting lives in the Bristol community for many, many years to come.”

Matthews’ additional experience with the Y includes serving as center executive director for a number of Y locations, including the Central Florida YMCA in Orlando, the YMCA of Greater St. Louis, and the YMCA of Greater Mobile.

“After 16 years as CEO of the YMCA of Bristol and 35 years as a Y professional, I am excited to pass the torch onto Rick,” Ayers says. “He will be a great asset to our YMCA, and will continue the 134-year tradition of leading our Y in meeting the ever-changing needs of our community. I have no doubt that Rick’s skills and experience will move our Y to even greater heights.”

Matthews earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from the University of Maryland in College Park.

About the YMCA of Bristol

The YMCA of Bristol is a leading nonprofit organization committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The YMCA’s mission is to strengthen the community by improving the quality of life and inspiring individuals and families to develop their fullest potential in spirit, mind and body.

For more information about the YMCA of Bristol, contact (423) 968-3133, or visit www.bristolymca.net.

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