The 2019 Evening of Hope saw Doyle Wallace, president and CEO of Wallace Hardware Co., honored and the Helen Ross McNabb Center’s jail-to-work program featured in the charity event Tuesday night at The Country Club.
Presented by the Jefferson Federal Charitable Foundation, the event benefited Helen Ross McNabb Center programming and services in Hamblen County.
Wallace, who has been a long time member of the Hamblen County Helen Ross McNabb Advisory Council, received an award for his years of service. He thanked all of those who attended and expressed his surprise that he was receiving an honor.
“They asked me if I’d be open to receiving this award,” he said. “I was shocked.”
Wallace was presented the 2019 Hope Award by Jerry Vagnier, president and CEO of Helen Ross McNabb Center.
Wallace said he became interested in the work of Helen Ross McNabb Center. He said his father, John Wallace, had a large interest in the work at New Hope Recovery Center and that influenced him. Wallace also said he had interest in the work of Eddie and Betty Davis at the Youth Emergency Shelter. When those organizations came under the Helen Ross McNabb umbrella, it was a natural progression for Wallace to lend his support.
He said he has enjoyed working with the board for the last several years.
One of the programs he singled out is the jail-to-work program, which started two years ago and helps women who are inmates of the jail clean up from drug addiction then find work.
Wallace said Helen Ross McNabb Center helps the hopeless in the image of how Jesus helped those who were hopeless.
“These are people in jail, they cannot help themselves,” he said. “Sure, they’ve made a lot mistakes. What man or person among us would not do anything to have a certain day or certain hour to live over again?”
Vagnier also announced during the event that this fall the Helen Ross McNabb Center would be leading a fundraising campaign in an effort to raise $400,000 to help with the future of the jail-to-work program.
The program first started with state funding and now Hamblen County and the city of Morristown, along with Helen Ross McNabb are funding it.
“What we can do is help people leave the jail and never come back,” Vagnier said. “This is what this program is about.”
He said the money raised could keep the program sustainable.
“That will allow us to have money for the foreseeable future, at least three years,” he said. “We think we have a plan after that.”
R. Michael Fishman, editor and publisher of the Citizen Tribune, and the the Rev. Dean Haun, pastor of First Baptist Church, spoke about Wallace.
Haun said he is Wallace’s pastor at First Baptist and Wallace is a passionate servant of Christ.
“As Doyle’s pastor, I can say he is the same on Sunday as he is throughout the week,” Haun said. “We honor a man who truly loves the Lord.”
Haun said Wallace was on the church’s search committee for a pastor that “rescued him from Atlanta,” so he was one of the first people from Morristown he met.
“This man has a great heart, not only for the church, but for the community,” Haun said.
Fishman said Wallace became his friend years ago through a relationship between their fathers. He said he considered Wallace one of his closest friends.
Fishman said he was reminded about how Wallace had a major health concern years ago.
“What came to me in that memory was not so much what Doyle’s health concern was particularly, but how the community rallied around him at the time, “ Fishman said. “The Lord saw him through that time in his life. Now Doyle is rallying around those people who need help.”
Several times Fishman choked up as he described his friend’s work.
He said Wallace has taken a sincere approach to learning about the services and programs of Helen Ross McNabb. Fishman said Wallace has never said “no” to Helen Ross McNabb.
“Doyle is many things, but one of his greatest characteristics is his faith,” Fishman said. “Because of that, he is being called to what we are called to do and that is love and help others. Many lives are being changed because of his servant leadership.”