2017 Sage Award Honorees are, from left, Susan Huggins, Gwendolyn Vincent, Em Ghianni, and Nancy Conway. // SUBMITTED
FROM STAFF REPORTS
The Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee recently announced the four honorees and the complete list of 17 nominees for its 26th Annual Sage Awards, including well-known Franklin resident Nancy Conway.
“It was rather a shock to me,” Conway said on Tuesday afternoon.
But it shouldn’t have been a shock, given her years of service to the community, characterized by the Council on Aging thus: “Nancy Conway has dedicated her life to the betterment of Williamson County.”
Each year, COA recognizes older adults who have devoted their lives to improving their community. Each of the honorees and nominees has demonstrated visionary leadership and a lifelong commitment to improving the quality of life where they have lived and worked. Awardees will be honored at a luncheon held at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs on October 30.
The Williamson County native’s service began early on, but she is quite proud of the role she played in getting a Columbia State Community College campus in Williamson County in the late 1980s.
“Our first campus was established when we rented a BellSouth telephone building in Independence Square,” she said.
Not long after, Columbia State took over the Yates Vocational Building near Franklin High School. Now the school has a campus built from the ground up on Liberty Pike.
Conway spent many years on the board of directors of the Carter House Civil War site, and was still serving when the Carter House-Carnton Plantation merged into the Battle of Franklin Trust.
She’s served on the Williamson Medical Center Foundation, was a charter board member of Leadership Middle Tennessee, and is on the board of Franklin Tomorrow, working in that capacity with the Franklin Housing Authority, and she is on the advisory board of NHC Place Cool Springs.
She’s probably best known for her many years of leadership on the Williamson County/Franklin Chamber of Commerce, having presided over dozens of luncheons, ribbon cuttings and special events over the years.
“I started in 1978-79 part time, but it became full time rather quickly,” she said.
After the merger of local chambers into Williamson, Inc., Conway was named senior vice president of community relations.
“One reason the Council on Aging thought of me was that for about three years we had a Discover Franklin program for retired seniors who may not have learned about the area.”
Conway is the mother of Nan Miller and mother-in-law of Richmond Miller, who are the parents of two girls, Rachel and Maddie. She is an active member of Trinity United Methodist Church.
In addition to Conway, the 2017 Sage Awards honorees: Em Ghianni, Susan Huggins and Gwendolyn Vincent, all of Nashville.
A new award is being given this year honoring an organization that has demonstrated a significant impact on the lives of older adults in Middle Tennessee. The 2017 Organization Award will be presented to Fifty Forward.
“The Council on Aging believes in honoring older adults for lifelong service in making our communities better places to live,” said Grace Smith, executive director. “The Sage Awards allow us to recognize the men, women, and organizations who improve quality of life for others.”
Sage Award honorees (couples or individuals) and alternates are selected by the Sage Awards Committee from the nominations received. The committee, which is comprised of past Sage Award recipients, COA board members, and community volunteers, may also consider nominations from previous years. Eligibility includes any older adult (age 55 and older) living in the Middle Tennessee area served by COA.