One of our community's finest traditions is the Kiwanis Club's nearly 90-year-old custom of honoring a truly outstanding local citizen with the Kiwanis Distinguished Service Award. Justly honored by the Kiwanis Club at a special luncheon Tuesday at the Read House was Richardia "Rickie" Pierce.
Enjoying the honor with her were her husband, Charles Pierce, daughter Lynn Mulligan and granddaughter Lea Taylor Mulligan.
Pierce recently retired from very responsible service as associate head and upper school principal of our community's highly respected Girls Preparatory School, having served there for decades.
But she has found time and energy to serve also as a wife, mother and grandmother, and in so many civic organizations — more than 35, leading as president or chairwoman of 11 of them — that her good examples of citizenship and family devotion and her contributions to our community hardly can be counted.
She has been a member of the faculty at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, involved in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts programs, the Chattanooga Music Club and the Women's Leadership Institute, and active in service reflecting her Christian faith at First-Centenary United Methodist Church.
She is genuinely a distinguished Chattanoogan, which is why the Kiwanis Club chose to honor her.
Jeff Hollingsworth, chairman of the Kiwanis selection committee, said: "She's one of those who just dives into things. She doesn't just serve on boards; I mean she really gets in and works."
With it all, she has real humility, and a smiling personality, with good humor and friendliness.
Most good communities have outstanding leaders of many kinds. But we sincerely believe that Chattanooga, over many decades, has been unusually blessed with far more unselfishly serving good citizens than most.
That's one reason many Chattanoogans enjoy giving honor where honor is due — this time to Rickie Pierce.