(L-R)  Craig Brown and Joseph “Gator” Kincaid

Valley Haven Names Volunteer of the Year, Installs Officers and New Members

On Tuesday, August 25, the Valley Haven Board of Directors held their monthly meeting and announced the recipient of the John Allen Smith Volunteer of the Year Award. This year’s recipient was Joseph “Gator” Kincaid, who has long been an advocate for the mission of Valley Haven. Executive Director Craig Brown commended Gator for his willingness to always support Valley Haven fundraisers, publicize events, and even to serve as DJ for the school’s annual prom.

The announcement is typically made at Valley Haven’s annual dinner; however, due to the pandemic, the event had to be cancelled. In lieu of the dinner, the Board held a regular meeting with the purpose of installing officers and electing new Board members. Gator was invited to cover the meeting and new member elections for his news site Gator Media, completely unaware that the purpose was to surprise him with the award. Having secretly invited his wife, Kelley, to attend as well, she took over filming duties when Brown surprised Gator with the award. Following a standing ovation from the Board members, Kincaid praised the work of the school and its staff and emphasized his continued support of Valley Haven.

In other business at the meeting, Board members and Brown gave an annual fundraising update. Efforts this year were significantly hurt due to the cancellation of Hike Bike Run events; however, many donations were made to the Hike Bike Run fund, and events including the annual Knights of Columbus Tootsie Roll Drive and Walt Meadows Golf Tournament provided much needed assistance. Brown and Board President Chris Busby praised those that participated and donated to these events, noting how critical the support has been during this difficult time.

Brown gave an update on the status of the school’s in person service, which has been on hold since March. Tentative plans are to reopen Valley Haven to a limited number of clients on September 14th. Brown and the staff have been working over the past several months to adjust the curriculum and methods to ensure the safety of both clients and staff.
The other order of business that takes place at the annual dinner is the installation of officers for the upcoming year and the election of new members.

The following were elected officers: Chris Busby, President; Eddie Lanier, First Vice President; Mary Daves, Second Vice President; Neita Golden, Secretary; Wanda Huguley, Treasurer; Tommy Weldon, Chaplain; Essie Mae Harris, Membership Chair. Board members up for renewal and approved were Chris Busby, Tommy Weldon and Rod Ross. Individuals approved for the full Board were Richard Bolt, Brenda Jones and Tawonna Willis. Michael Sanders was approved as a new Board member.