The year 2020 marks the fifth anniversary of the Cleveland State Community College Community First Awards, which honors those who have devoted their lives to making their community a better place.

This week, the winners of the Fifth Annual Community First Awards, presented by Cleveland State Community College and premier sponsor SouthEast Bank, have been announced and one Monroe County resident was honored.

Nominations poured in from across Cleveland State’s service area of Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe and Polk counties, according to officials. Judges have selected the winners of nine of the 10 categories which make up the Community First Awards competition.

The Community First Person of the Year will not be revealed until the Community First Gala on March 19.

“This class of honorees is outstanding and includes representation from all of the counties we serve,” said Cleveland State Community College President Dr. Bill Seymour. “We are fortunate to have such strong leaders who exemplify the ideal of always putting community first.”

Laura Harris, the CEO of Chota Community Health Services, was the Monroe County resident honored in the healthcare field.

“The Community First Awards program is the only award program that is literally open to all community members within our five-county service area,” added Seymour. “Now in its fifth year, this program has risen in stature and respect. We are happy that members of our communities now look forward to this event every year and get excited about celebrating those who will be honored.”

The Community First Awards Gala will be held on the campus of Cleveland State Community College at the L. Quentin Lane Center. Dinner will be included as part of the ceremony honoring each of the winners. The event is black tie optional.

Seats and tables are available for purchase, as well as sponsorship opportunities, by contacting the CSCC Foundation Offices at 423-614-8700. Also, beginning Monday, interested parties may purchase tickets online at

All proceeds from the event will benefit the CSCC Foundation and its endeavors to help the students of Cleveland State Community College.

For more information, contact CSCC’s Director of Communications and Marketing Don Foley at 423-473-2341 or

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