Eric Dreher at first didn’t event think it was real.
At the start of January, he received a letter in the mail, telling him he had won an award for the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards.
It had come from Volunteer Tennessee.
“I’m looking at this and I’d never heard of them before,” he said. “I’m thinking is this a scam? But, they’re not asking for a checking account number or Social Security number.”
Some friends suggested he go to Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain and ask him if it was a scam.
He left a copy of the letter at the office and said the very next day he heard from Brittain’s secretary.
“She said, ‘Mr. Brittain got a copy of the same letter,’” Dreher said. “’He’s not very familiar with it, so he said, if you decide to go out to Franklin, have a good trip.’”
Dreher did go last weekend to Franklin, Tennessee and was honored with several hundred others who had also won Volunteer Stars Awards.
Several others throughout the Lakeway Area were honored at the event.
Jaydin Bullard, a Hamblen County resident, who volunteers at Ridin’ High, won an award in the youth division.
Dreher said he was surprised to be honored. He was nominated by Lakeway Area Habitat for Humanty, where he volunteers.
“I don’t think I’m doing anything special,” he said. “I’m just giving back and having fun.”
He volunteers at Habitat for Humanity, the animal shelter, Daily Bread, Good Shepherd and West Elementary School. He’s a mentor for Tennessee Promise.
“It keeps the old man busy,” he said. “It gets me out of the house.”
Dreher is an accountant who retired from Pepsi-Cola and moved to Morristown from Connecticut in 2014.
He said he’s been to 48 of the 50 states and thought Tennessee was the prettiest.
Just before his retirement, he toured the state looking for the perfect place. He found it in Hamblen County.
“I was sold on Morristown,” he said. “I thought it was a pretty city and I enjoyed the double decker sidewalks downtown.”
He said he loves the small town friendliness.
Dreher ran for school board two years ago and came in third.
For him, the opportunity to help others is a pleasure.
“You see people with need and help solve that need in some degree or another,” he said.
Dreher is humble about what he does.
“I guess somebody thinks I’m deserving of it,” he said. “I really don’t.”