Public servants honored for marathon of caring | Community Spirit
Memphis City Councilman Myron Lowery received more nominations for the Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Award than any other honoree in the nine year history of the accolade. Rotary Club of Memphis East was besieged with recommendations from fellow council members, encouraging judges to name Lowery for the special recognition. The four time council chairman and former Memphis Mayor Pro Tem accepted the honor after a Rotary Luncheon at the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality Management at the University of Memphis. "My mother wanted me to be a minister, but I didn't want to do that, " Lowery said as his wife Mary Lowery stood by his side. "I wanted to help people in other ways, first as a reporter and now in public office, " the councilman said. Lowery devoted his early career to broadcast journalism at Action News 5 before running for City Council in the 1980s. "We lost the first two elections but those defeats ultimately made me a better candidate and a better public servant." Lowery has won his last six elections to city council and currently represents Super District 8 with 330,000 Memphians. "We've helped get more than 2,000 guns off the streets in our Gift for Guns program and we've helped more than 150 charities through my New Years Day Jazz Champagne Brunch," Lowery said.
Rotary of Memphis East honors one elected government official and one non-elected government appointee each year. Ted Illsley, a manager in Memphis and Shelby County Construction Code Enforcement, was honored for his 27 years of service assisting architects, engineers and everyday citizens comply with our community's complex construction codes. "I am deeply humbled by this honor and want to thank my wife and all of my co-workers," Illsley said. The 2012 non-elected honoree has managed the Plan Review Section of Construction Code Enforcement for 23 years. "Ted is tireless and will spend hour after hour assisting architects and anyone else requesting help to create a blueprint that will comply with our codes," said Carolyn B. Willis, Rotary-East President. Illsley, a cancer survivor, willingly shares his story with anyone who needs help coping with the challenges cancer brings. A classic car buff, Illsley has restored a 1972 Cobra Jet Mustang (his pride and joy) and a Ford Galaxy.
Dr. Scott Morris, Founder and CEO of Church Health Center, served as keynote speaker at the awards program. Morris stepped in for the scheduled speaker, Brad Martin, retired Chairman and CEO of Saks Incorporated. Morris had diagnosed Martin with a case of pneumonia and ordered him to bed rest. The good doctor then played pinch hitter for the Rotary-East speaking engagement, the club's most prestigious annual program. The Rotary award is given in memory of Bobby Dunavant, the late Shelby Probate Court Clerk, long known as one of the most dedicated and hard working public officials in Memphis and Shelby County history.