Catoosa County Schools Superintendent Denia Reese encourages everyone to look for ways to give back.
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Chickamauga City Schools Superintendent Melody Day says community service was instilled in her from an early age.
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Walker County Schools Superintendent Damon Raines believes serving children is the ultimate community service.

Get tickets

Tickets cost $35 each, with corporate tables available for $350. The luncheon is being catered by Park Place Restaurant. Reservations are required in advance by contacting Chris McKeever at or 706-861-2860.

Three local superintendents are the focal point of the ninth annual Distinguished Service Awards Luncheon, being held Wednesday, April 13 at the Walker County Civic Center in Rock Spring starting at 11:45 a.m.

For 2016, the Fort Oglethorpe Kiwanis Club is honoring Chickamauga City Schools Superintendent Melody Day, Walker County Schools Superintendent Damon Raines and Catoosa County Schools Superintendent Denia Reese.

A tradition of the event is the silent auction held to benefit the honoree's or honorees' favorite charity. Day selected Love Out Loud, an after-school enrichment program for Chickamauga Elementary School students. Raines chose Backpack Blessings which sends food home with Walker County students. Reese nominated Catoosa County Children's Fund which helps students by providing assistance to their families with food, glasses and medical care.


Melody Day

"I grew up in a family that was extremely involved in service to the community," said Day. "The example was set for me by my father, who worked with government and civic organizations and always stressed helping others — especially those in need. I was also involved in Scouting as a young girl, and service projects were also a huge part of that organization."

There are always worthy projects that can make a big difference, she said, if a person is willing to take the time and energy to help.

"I truly enjoy being involved in positive projects that will enhance a situation," said Day. "I enjoy meeting and working with others toward a common cause, and I want to be a positive example for my family, and others, in an effort to encourage them to also be involved."

Day said she is a supporter of any activity that benefits children and also a supporter of economic development in Walker County.

"The Distinguished Service Award came as quite a surprise, but is a tremendous honor," she said. "It is even more meaningful when it is received for something that you are passionate about. There is great satisfaction and fulfillment in working to improve the quality of life for others. Be a part of the solution: Find projects that are close to your heart, and before you know it, service will become a way of life."

Damon Raines

Raines said he feels community service is a requirement for being an active and productive citizen — and everyone should strive to be such.

"I have a responsibility to become involved and attempt to make a difference where I can; it is part of my civic duty," he said. "I also believe I should be an example of what this looks like for my own family and my work family that includes over 9,000 students. Serving is the foundation of success.

"In my opinion, serving our children is the greatest example of community service."

Raines serves on many boards in Walker County.

"I am actively involved with Backpack Blessings and the YMCA," he added. "Meeting those physical needs must be a priority and this program is doing that in an amazing way. I always try to think about each child that will receive one of our snack bags as I do my small part in this effort. Our small contribution may be the difference in the life of a child."

He said receiving the Distinguished Service Award is an honor. Raines said he tries to live his life in a manner that reflects the life of Jesus in everything that he does each day.

"Jesus exemplified the heart of a servant while walking on this Earth and served the community in a manner that is unparalleled," said Raines. "My goal is to encourage everyone with whom I come into contact to be actively involved in their respective community; to lead by example, to willingly serve those who may not be able to serve themselves, and to always complete this action with a heart full of love."

Denia Reese

"To me, community service means I am shifting my focus away from myself and my small sphere of influence: my family, friends and my job, to participate in activities that will help others and better this community," said Reese. "Serving in ways to meet the needs of others and our community is an opportunity to participate in the greater good for our citizens today, and an opportunity to maintain the excellent quality of life in Catoosa County for our children in the future."

Reese said she participates in community service because her mother raised her to understand serving others is the best way to live a worthwhile life.

"She enrolled me in Brownies and Girl Scouts at a very young age," Reese said, "so I grew up participating in community service projects."

To meet the needs of Catoosa County students, she serves on the boards of Communities and Schools and Partnership 2000 to connect students and their families with community resources.

"I am overwhelmed to be selected for this award," Reese said. "I participate in community service because it is the right thing to do and it brings me personal joy. I never dreamed I would receive an award for these activities."

There are many reasons to get involved in community service, she said, encouraging others to look for ways they can help.

"I would encourage people to serve to maintain our quality of life," said Reese. "As a lifelong Catoosa County resident, I appreciate the opportunity I had to grow up in such a great community."