Community First Award Winners

Community First Award Winners

Andrea Byerly
Tuesday, July 25, 2023 12:00 AM
Press Releases, Alumni, Community, All

CLEVELAND, TN – Cleveland State Community College announces the 2023 Community First Award winners. More than 50 nominations were received from the college’s five-county service area, seeking to honor individuals across eight categories. Nominations were judged based on the nominees’ extraordinary commitment of time, talent, or treasure to the community.

“We are excited to announce the Community First Award winners for 2023. Each in their own way exemplifies the value of putting their community first,” said Dr. Ray Brooks, Cleveland State Interim President. “This is a unique awards program, and I look forward to recognizing these outstanding individuals at the awards ceremony in September.”

The categories and winners are as follows:

  • Arts Award:
    Melissa Fugate – Senior Capstone Teacher and Theater Arts Teacher, Polk County High School
    (Polk County)
  • Education Award:
  • Dr. Linda Cash and Dr. Russell Dyer – Directors of Schools, Bradley County Schools and Cleveland City Schools
  • (Bradley County)
  • Healthcare Award:
    Don E. Robinson MD – Retired Physician, Chattanooga VA outpatient Clinic
    (Bradley and McMinn County)
  • Non-Profit Leadership Award:
    Diana Jackson – CEO, Life Bridges Inc.
    (Bradley  and Polk County)
  • Philanthropy Award:
    George R. Johnson Family Foundation - Janice Johnson Wilson, Mark and Beverly Johnson, Julia Johnson Scoggins – Directors
  • (Bradley County)
  • Public Service Award:
    Stephen Lofty – Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director, Polk County
  • (Polk County)
  • Student Leadership Award:
    Carson Blevins - Student, Polk County High School
    (Polk County)


Don M. Lorton Volunteer Service Award: 

Ricardo Torres – Business Owner and Girls Soccer Coach, Sweetwater High School
(Monroe County)


The Community First Awards are presented by Cleveland State Community College and benefit the CSCC Foundation. The ceremony will be held on Tuesday, September 19 in the Wacker Commons of the PIE Center in Cleveland. Dinner will be provided, and dress for the evening is business casual.

To purchase a ticket or for information on corporate sponsorship, contact Lee McChesney at  

at (423) 473-2489 or email For more information on the 

Community First Awards Ceremony, visit All proceeds from the event will go to the Cleveland State Foundation. 


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  • TN eCampus
  • Tennessee Transfer Pathway