published Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Rhea County, Tenn., officials to reinstate leadership program

Gary Louallen
Gary Louallen
Kimberly McMillian

DAYTON, Tenn. — Rhea County officials say the Rhea County Leadership Program is coming back, possibly by November 2014.

“We’re starting on that,” Dayton Chamber of Commerce President Vaughn Berger said during Rhea Economic and Tourism Council’s recent monthly meeting.

The program was formed in 1996 to allow leaders and emerging leaders to improve their leadership skills. It formerly was under the direction of the Rhea Economic and Tourism Council, and was discontinued nearly two years ago.

Berger said Dayton chamber officials had decided to oversee the applications and organization, and that they’d made progress on “the early stages.”

Dayton Mayor Gary Louallen said he’d been notified about several industries seeking to expand in the county, but that he couldn’t yet say more about them.

David Holcomb, fund director with Bryan College, said the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ summer camp was a success, and that nearly 350 students had attended the two-week Summit’s Worldview Conference.

The program, Holcomb said, helped train students in ministering to fellow college classmates.

“A lot [of students] fall from the church,” he said, many facing uncertainty about entering college and living away from home.

Christine Ralph, executive director of the Rhea County United Way, said more than 300 students had attended last week’s “Give a Kid a Chance” event at the high school. She said Cuonzo Martin, the University of Tennessee men’s basketball coach, would speak at the annual banquet today at 6 p.m. at the college.

In other matters, John Payne, executive director of the economic and tourism council, said the paperwork for a $15,000 state economic and community development grant has been submitted and is awaiting approval.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@

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