Severo Avila

Severo Avila is Features Editor at the Rome News-Tribune.

Each year around the time of the Heart of the Community Awards, I like to also recognize people who I think make a positive impact on Rome and Floyd County.

As you all know the Heart of the Community Awards is this big fancy gala and wonderful, deserving people are recognized in a big way for their contributions to our community.

Well I don’t have that kind of money. So I can’t be renting out The Forum and have an open bar and a catered meal and hand out fancy-shmancy awards.

But what I CAN do is make sure readers know that there are MANY people in this community who are impacting lives in a positive way. Unfortunately many of them do it from behind the scenes. They’re not on any boards of directors and their names aren’t on plaques all over town. So they may not get the visibility others do. But that doesn’t mean they’re not working just as hard.

So I started the Sevvies a couple years ago to sort of go hand-in-hand with the Heart of the Community Awards. They’ll host their big fancy banquet on Saturday (at which I’ll be in attendance). So I thought today would be a good day to announce this year’s Sevie Award recipients.

These are people who may go unnoticed. They often shun the spotlight. But deserve to be recognized nonetheless.

 

Sandy Davis — Many know Sandra Davis as the wife of my old friend and radio mogul Randy Davis. Randy has been awarded a Heart of the Community, but Sandy has been a pillar in this community as well. She has been active in Rome Little Theatre for many years. But what makes me want to recognize Sandy is the light she brings to regular folks every single day. Sandy’s smile is a joyous thing to behold and she has always stood behind her husband, supporting him from the behind the scenes that he might have the spotlight. She has been the “wind beneath his wings” as my granny loved to say. Our community is fortunate indeed to have Sandy Davis.

 

Shelley Callier — Shelley is a teacher at Model Middle School and has been a teacher forever and ever (that’s my very technical measurement of time). Now I know there are so many amazing teachers in our community but I see, through Shelley, how much of an impact they have on our kids and our families. Like many other teachers, Shelley goes above and beyond for her students. I have seen her spend her own money to buy things for those students who have nothing. I have seen her take students into her care who have no one else to care for them. I have seen her become so invested in their well being that long after they’re in her classroom she is still involved in their lives. Shelley represents all those great teachers who know that showing a child love and respect are just as important as teaching them something out of a textbook.

 

Kent Ellington — A while back I wrote a column about a local dentist. A lady wrote to me asking me to please give some recognition to this “angel” who helped her and who people had been talking about because of his kindness to others. His name was Kent Ellington and I got several letters from people afterward saying that they too had been shown great kindness by Dr. Ellington. Well recently a man named Richard wrote me a very heartfelt letter asking me to sing the praises of Dr. Ellington yet again. He wrote of how grateful and surprised he was to have been treated so kindly and compassionately by Dr. Ellington. “People need to know about this good and wholesome man,” Richard wrote. Though I have never visited Dr. Ellington as a patient, I have seen him interact with the community and based on all the letters I’ve been written about him I am confident in awarding him a Sevie this year.

 

Monica Sheppard — I feel like almost everyone in Rome knows Monica. She’s the artist, the “bee lady,” the karaoke queen, the columnist, the activist. I’d like to offer Monica a Sevie Award because of her constant activism and hard work to make so many parts of our community better. There are those of us who try to do good in one area and focus our attention and energy there. Monica seems to have boundless energy and no matter what fundraiser or charity is going on, it seems as if Monica has either been asked to lend her talents toward it, or she’s front and center supporting it. I wish I could say that I’ve helped as many local causes as Monica has. She is tireless in her pursuit to make Rome the best it can be and we should be thankful for her.

 

Chase Watterson — Chase is the guy who has taught half of Rome’s kids how to play soccer. He heads the YMCA’s soccer program and goes out into the community to various schools to help kids learn soccer and love physical education. So many kids love Chase. He has this enormous smile whenever you see him out and about and he truly has a gift for working with children. They adore him. We have to remember that impacting the community doesn’t just mean writing big checks to charities or volunteering at local events. Chase makes Rome and Floyd County better because he’s working with the next generation of this community. He’s helping to produce happy, healthy children who will hopefully become happy, healthy members of society. This guy is making a difference every single day and you can see it in the way he treats our kids.

 

Like I said, I can’t throw these people a fancy, expensive banquet or give them some really awesome trophy. But I hope that by telling you about them, their hard work is in some small way recognized.

 

Severo Avila is Features Editor for the Rome News-Tribune