At The Dixie
Special usher awards and a newly created one, The Brooks S. Hodges Award, were presented Thursday at The Dixie at the Annual Volunteer Usher Luncheon.
Brooke Hodges was called to the podium by The Dixie’s Executive Director Angela DeMaris.
“There is someone in this room whom without her valiant efforts and persistent drive we all would not be here today talking about the over 35,000 hours of volunteer service that has happened at The Dixie,” said DeMaris. “This person took on the task of creating a Volunteer Usher program in 2005 that consisted of several upstanding citizens of our community and oddly enough a large amount of retired teachers.”
She added that Hodges felt that teachers would have the best chance at controlling the large crowds that were expected at this new performing arts center.
Former Executive Director of The Dixie, Lori Nolen, surprised Hodges with a beautiful clock which represented the 36,597 hours of volunteer service she has completed to date and the continuation of hours in the future.
“Because of all that you have done for the volunteer usher program, we have established a new award in your honor,” said DeMaris. “It will be called the Brooke S. Hodges Award for excellence in providing a positive patron experience.”
The first recipient of this award, Paula Atkins, worked for 15 years and over 289 hours.
“There is none that provides a positive patron experience like this usher, so it is no surprise to most that she would get the first award.”
Nolen called Hodges a leader in The Dixie family.
“Everybody needs an advocate like Brooke Hodges,” she said. “She loves to spotlight others and she brings laughter and says things that make you better.”
The Carter-Holbrook Award for excellence in organizational leadership of the arts went to Ann Noles. She has been an usher for 11 years and has worked for over 243 hours.
Allison Cummings , who has been an usher for three years and has worked for over 44 hours, was presented the Mayor’s Award. This award represents good humor and patience in the public service of the arts.
Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Wanda Crossett. The award is given for excellence in volunteer leadership of the arts. Dennis Blackwell received the Volunteer of the Year Award for the 2020-2021 season.
The family of the late Clarence Norman accepted his usher badge. His wife, Ruby, and daughter, Gina Atkins and her grandson, Kruz, were present for the presentation.
Ushers with 15 years of volunteering were recognized. They included Linda Allen, Paula Atkins, Nancy Blaylock, Joyce Blow, Barbara Clifton, Bill Gwaltney, Brooke Hodges, Geneva Johnson, David Rhodes and Linda Wallace.
For ten years of volunteering, Ruby Allen, Denise Coleman, Bailey Cooper, Wanda Crossett, Bob Espey, Judy Espey, Martha Hastings, Peggy Hutchinson, Ann Noles, Melissa Powell, Amy Rangnow, Judy Roberts, Ivy Smith, Karen Spotnagle, Terry Warren, Natelle Waugh and Jill Whitfill were recognized.
Hodges said in closing that the Lord goes before us and shows us he loves The Dixie by sending the best people each season to usher.