JACKSON, Tenn. – Feb. 18, 2009 – Union University President David S. Dockery and social work professor Mary Anne Poe were each honored at banquets by Jackson community organizations Feb. 17.
The Jackson Exchange Club named Dockery the 2008 Man of the Year in a program at the Doubletree Hotel. At the same time at Lambuth University, the Altrusa International club named Poe the 2008 Woman of the Year.
“I am deeply humbled and grateful,” Dockery said in accepting the award. “Probably this should be changed, so that it is the team of the year for 2008 at Union University, and I am privileged to be the symbol of that team and accept it on their behalf.” Poe also expressed her gratitude.
“Other women in our community who have won that award in the past are heroes, in a sense,” Poe said. “They’re great people. To be selected for that is wonderful.”
Chris Ramey, president of the Jackson Exchange Club, said nominations for the annual Man of the Year award are accepted from the public. A committee of the club then selects the recipient. This year marks the 63rd straight year in which the award has been given.
“The whole premise is someone who is leading through a servant’s heart -- someone who is leading by their example, not by their title, but by the deeds that they do in the community,” Ramey said.
He said Dockery was a perfect example of that during 2008, when he led Union University’s speedy recovery from a devastating tornado on Feb. 5, 2008. As Dockery was interviewed on several local and national news programs, Ramey said Dockery’s “calming presence” helped to encourage not just those at Union, but the broader Jackson community.
“I think it made us all feel like, ‘It’s going to be OK,’” Ramey said.
Linda Stilwell, president of the Altrusa International club, said Poe’s selection for the 57th annual award was based in part on her community service efforts, including her work with Area Relief Ministries and her role in starting the Room in the Inn ministry to homeless men in Jackson.
Stilwell also cited Poe’s efforts at Union in the aftermath of the tornado.
“She was on the scene securing students, taking them to her home and housing some throughout the semester,” Stilwell said. “She also worked tirelessly on campus to assist in debriefing students after the disaster, ministering to frightened and traumatized young adults as they struggled back into their classrooms.”