Virginia Hardwick and Hannah Rials are the 2012 recipients of the Community Leadership Award and Youth Leadership Award. The Community Leadership Award was first instituted in 2000 by Leadership Blount. It recognizes individuals whose sustained actions and leadership reflect the commitment to life- long service that is promoted by Leadership Blount. The Youth Leadership Award was created this year to honor an outstanding student-leader in our community.
Hardwick and Rials will be recognized at the annual Community Leadership Award Breakfast on Friday, April 20 at First United Methodist Church in Maryville. The breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m.
Ms. Hardwick is an active community member in Blount County. She has spent a great deal of time working with such organizations as United Way, Habitat for Humanity, First United Methodist Church of Maryville, Leadership Blount, and the Maryville-Alcoa Rotary Club. Hardwick is currently serving as the Board Chair-Elect at the Blount County Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of the Leadership Blount Class of 2002.
Although she has spent time with each of these organizations, her commitment does not end after her leadership roles are completed. She is very modest with her accomplishments and will usually talk about the cause that she is working towards before you will hear about her contribution. Her passion for these
services keeps her involved in the community.
Throughout her local charitable, civic and religious sectors, she has taken on multiple leadership roles. Even in her daily work, Hardwick demonstrates her leadership skills. She is the area market development manager at StaffingSolutions. Nominated for the award by Candy Daugherty, she says that Virginia
is “dependable, loyal, ethical, moral, honest, dedicated and a servant leader to those around her.” She
has been a member of the President’s Club at StaffingSolutions numerous times. She is married to Doug Hardwick and has two daughters, Callie and Grace.
The inaugural recipient of the Youth Leadership Award, Hannah Rials, daughter of Tim and Becky Rials, is a sophomore at Maryville High School. She has been providing service to the Blount County community for the past 5 years.
Rials has worked with such organizations as New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center
and Junior Service League. At New Hope, she was seen as a friendly, diligent worker who always had
a positive attitude. While volunteering for Junior Service League, Hannah helped out with a couple
of the fundraisers including Breakfast with Santa and the Pirates, Princesses, and Pals Breakfast. Her dedication to this service was seen through her interaction with the children and her willingness to dress up and join in on the festivities.
After being in girl scouts for 10 years, Rials was eligible to earn her Gold Award. She organized Cirque Du Independence for The Gateway to Independence. This was her second year to organize and host the dance for the Gate participants. She said she could not have done it without the help of her wonderful and willing volunteers.
Hannah’s leadership skills do not only reach Blount County but they also have stretched to other parts of the country as well. After the hurricanes last year, a library in Upper Jay, New York was nearly destroyed including their children’s book section. In collaboration with New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center, Hannah helped put together a book drive. The money raised and numerous boxes of books were sent to the Wells Memorial Library to help restock their shelves.
Hardwick is the 13th recipient of the Community Leadership Award, joining a distinguished list of previous honorees: Senator Doug Overbey, The late Harwell Proffitt, Tutt Bradford, Dean Stone, Dr. Sue Wyatt, Geraldine Upton, Joe Ingram, Gary Hensley, Joy Bishop, Fred Forster, Joe Dawson, and Rick Shepard.
Rials is the first recipient of the Youth Leadership Award