LMU Bestows Mary Mildred Sullivan Award on Vina Hembree

Vina Hembree

Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) President Clayton Hess presented the Mary Mildred Sullivan Civic Award to Vina Hembree during LMU’s Fall Commencement exercises on Saturday, December 14, 2019, in Tex Turner Arena.

LMU is one of approximately 60 colleges and universities in the United States to have the privilege of awarding the Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards. The awards are given to recognize individuals whose “nobility of character” and dedication to service sets them apart as examples for others. 

President Hess presents award to Vina HembreeHembree, of Ewing, Virginia, was recognized for her lifetime of good works includes crocheting hats for cancer patients and blankets for babies in area hospitals, making quilts for the homeless and volunteering through her church. 

Hembree was born in 1935 and attended a one-room school through the seventh grade. An avid reader, Hembree later began to write poetry, and at the age of fifty-four completed a book about her mountain memories growing up on the Virginia side of Cumberland Mountain. This inspired her to pursue her GED, which she passed the following year. Now 84, Hembree still lives near her mountain birthplace.

Hembree’s life has touched many in her community. She raised two daughters by gardening, canning, sewing, quilting and hunting deer and squirrels. Hembree learned to crochet at the age of 10 and continues to use that skill today as she crafts hats for cancer patients. Hembree is active in her church and has served as church clerk, Sunday school teacher and Vacation Bible School volunteer.

Hembree has crocheted hats for nursing home patients and hats and blankets for babies in area hospitals. She has made quilts for community fundraisers and made ten quilts for homeless people in Knoxville. Hembree served as a volunteer at Manna House in Tazewell, the Tri-State Nursing Home and Elydale Elementary Schools.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or email at [email protected].

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