UNITE, the Union County/New Albany Initiative to Excel held its annual dinner Thursday evening, March 31st, at Hillcrest Baptist Church in New Albany. UNITE is a local philanthropic organization, an affiliate of the CREATE Foundation of Tupelo.
Joyce Sumners, this year’s UNITE Volunteer of the Year, is shown early in the UNITE event before she knew she was being honored.
The annual UNITE dinner is the occasion for the presentation of grants to local non-profit organizations and the drive to raise additional donations to fund future grants. Checks representing grants were presented 18 local organizations.
Joyce Sumners was honored as the UNITE Volunteer of the Year. This was the third year for presentation of that honor.
New Albany attorney Drew Shands and restaurateur Moises Lemus made the presentation of UNITE grant awards.
Travis Wiseman, president of the UNITE Board of Directors, presided at the meeting.
More photos and additional details about the UNITE dinner will be posted this weekend on NAnewsweb.com.
Linda and Bill Everett, shown here at the 2016 meeting on Thursday, were named UNITE Volunteers of the Year in 2015.
Collett Cross is the executive director of UNITE
Bill Smallwood, a UNITE director, is shown with Mike Clayborne, who is president of CREATE, the parent organization of UNITE.
UNITE Board President Travis Wiseman presided at the Thursday evening event.
Joyce Sumners did not know her son Tom was present at the UNITE event until he walked up and kissed her cheek immediately after she was named Volunteer of the Year.
Joyce Sumners is the 2016 UNITE Volunteer of the Year. Her two daughters were visiting New Albany from their homes in Jackson, but she was not expecting them at the UNITE dinner. Her son Tom Sumners, who lives in Dunnelon, Florida, and his daughter, Stacey Sumners Earnest, had arrived in New Albany unknown to Mrs. Sumners. All four were kept hidden from her view during the early part of the program. She enjoyed a double surprise: being named Volunteer of the Year and her family unexpectedly present to enjoy the honor with her. Shown are Stacy Sumners Earnest, Leslie Sumners, Tom Sumners, Joyce Sumners and Dr. Melinda Sumners Ray.