Bank donates $5,000 to Sevier County Veterans’ Emergency Fund in Madison’s name
By Scott Bird
Home Federal Bank named Sevier County teen Madison Thomas the 2015 Hometown Heroes overall honoree and presented a $5,000 donation in her honor to the Sevier County Veterans’ Emergency Fund at a ceremony at the bank’s Sevierville office, 307 Parkway, on Wednesday, May 6.
Home Federal Bank’s Hometown Heroes community service awards program spotlights community volunteers who make East Tennessee a more comfortable place for all of us. They mentor our kids; support our seniors; advocate for our most vulnerable; care for our animals; expand our region’s cultural opportunities; and serve in other ways. Eight 2015 honorees were selected for their extraordinary volunteer efforts based on nominations from area nonprofits and the general public.
The honorees, chosen based on their volunteer work in our community, selected a local nonprofit for a $2,500 donation in their names. From these finalists, Madison as the overall honoree had an additional $2,500 donation to her chosen nonprofit.
“This is the fifth year of the Hometown Heroes program, and each year I gain a renewed appreciation for our community’s volunteers,” Home Federal Bank President and CEO Dale Keasling said. “People like Madison, a high school senior who has already logged thousands of hours of community service and also is a scholar-athlete, exemplify what it means to be a Hometown Hero.”
Madison is a tireless teen who has accumulated more than 2,385 hours of community service over the past five years. In 2010 she founded HOPE, a team of 15 students who shared a goal of improving life and helping people in need throughout the Sevierville community. Under Madison’s leadership, the team raised funds to support multiple area organizations, such as Sevier County Food Ministries, Gatlinburg Boys and Girls Club, Alzheimer’s Foundation, Keep Sevier Beautiful, Smoky Mountain Children’s Home and Ronald McDonald House. The team also spent many hours supporting a widow’s ministry and hosting Bingo night and holiday events at a local nursing home. Additionally, Madison served as a member of the H.A.B.I.T. (Human Animal Bond in Tennessee) program, where she and her dog visited local nursing homes; created a garden that supplied the American Legion and local veterans with vegetables; and authored two devotionals for teen girls.
In addition to volunteering, Madison excels in the classroom and on the soccer field. She graduates in May from Gatlinburg-Pittman High School and in the fall will attend Milligan College, where she earned more than $100,000 in academic and athletic scholarships.
Community service is a Thomas family tradition. In 2014, Madison’s sister, Makenzie Thomas, was named a Hometown Hero for her volunteer service supporting local veterans, widows, infants, children and shelter animals.
Sevier County veterans service officer Jesse Inman accepted the $5,000 donation on behalf of the fund.