McMinnville’s Noon Exchange Club has won the organization’s most coveted prize, bringing home the E.W. Sprague Award for best club in the district.
“Our members participated in over 50 community service and fundraising projects this year, but it was still a surprise when our club was named as the winner,” said club president Ashley Gillentine Wright. “There were so many other active clubs in the running.”
The presentation was made during the 89th annual Tennessee District Convention at Fall Creek Falls this past weekend, the district including 40 clubs over a tristate area in Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas. In addition to accepting the Sprague Award for her club, Wright was also sworn in as the Exchange District president-elect and will supervise the work of clubs in the three states.
The award, named for the 19th National Exchange Club president and first national president from Tennessee, E.W. Sprague, is bestowed annually to the club judged to have had the greatest impact on its community through its programs of service and advancing the goals of Exchange.
Through the Exchange Programs of Service – Americanism, Community Service and Youth Programs – members support activities that benefit youth, promote pride in our country and honor military and public service providers, to name a few.
Exchange’s National Project is the prevention of child abuse. While McMinnville does not have a child abuse prevention center that is officially affiliated with Exchange, Noon Exchange works with the local Children’s Advocacy Center as part of its mission to prevent child abuse. This past year the club presented the National Day of Hope to raise awareness of the hundreds of children who are abused every year in Warren County.
“I think that’s a big part of our mission in Exchange, to make sure people realize that child abuse is a problem happening every day right here where we live,” Wright said. “And, to make sure child abuse in any form gets reported.”
The club’s biggest event of the year is its annual Christmas Party for local underserved students. The club purchases gifts for the elementary-aged children and throws them a party complete with a visit from Santa.
“That’s the gift that gives back,” Wright said.
Noon Exchange typically meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the TSU Nursery Research Center off Cadillac Lane. Anyone wanting more information is encouraged to visit the Noon Exchange Club of McMinnville Facebook page.