Steve Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer, was among the select group. Following the White House session, Smith administered the creation of Food City’s annual Claude P. Varney Volunteer Recognition Program, to reward outstanding volunteerism among their associates.
“Throughout the years, our company has wholly dedicated itself to serving the citizens of the communities in which we operate,” said Smith. “Many of our associates volunteer their time and talents to numerous organizations in support of their communities and we felt it needful to formally recognize their selfless contributions.”
Befittingly, the program was entitled in memory of Food City’s beloved former president and board vice-chairman of 47 years, Varney. He was well-known for his tremendous compassion and humanitarian services.
Each year, special committees are established to review associate volunteer activities and select individual award recipients based on outstanding achievement in the areas of health, education, environment, cultural arts, recreational, heritage/history and public service.
One winner is selected from each location. The local winner was Mark Hodges, pharmacy manager of Store 601 in Johnson City. He’s worked with the company for 14 years.
Hodges has sponsored a nurse for medical missionary work via Rick Via Reach Ministries for eight years, has served on the Piney Flats Community Chest for 16 years, has been a member of the Piney Flats Ruritan Club for 26 years and is a deacon, teacher and member of the choir at Poplar Ridge Christian Church.
He also has been a charter organization representative for Boy Scouts of America Troop 4 for 29 years.
Store winners then move on to compete at district level, where 10 overall district winners are selected.
The district winners attended a special corporate luncheon, where they were publicly recognized for their outstanding service achievements with an award and a $250 contribution to their charity of choice.
From among the district winners, two divisional winners will next be selected and honored with a plaque and a $500 charity contribution.
And finally, one overall winner will be selected to receive the award and be publicly recognized for their outstanding achievements, in addition to a $1,000 charity contribution made on their behalf.
“We’re extremely proud of the difference our associates make through their many humanitarian contributions. Our company is committed to providing our associates the support they need to become the best corporate citizens possible,” Smith said.
Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores (Food City’s parent company) operates 135 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, Chattanooga and north Georgia.