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Column: Wesley Woods to recognize four Atlanta leaders at 2019 gala

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Nov. 16, 2018

The Foundation of Wesley Woods will honor four Atlanta leaders with its 30th annual Heroes Saints & Legends awards at a gala on March 28, 2019, at Flourish in Buckhead.

They are J. Neal Purcell, a leader in financial services; Ray Robinson, a telecommunications executive; and the husband-and-wife team – Lyn and Bob Turknett, leadership consultants.

The annual awards program spotlights longtime regional leaders in business and philanthropy who have made significant ongoing contributions to the community.

The evening benefits more than 1,800 older adults who live throughout Wesley Woods’ residential communities across North Georgia, and it also raises funds for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease research at Emory University.

Wesley Woods

Photo: The 2019 Heroes, Saints & Legends honorees (L to R): Ray M. Robinson, J. Neal Purcell, Lyn and Bob Turknett (Special: the Wesley Woods Foundation)

“For 30 years, Heroes, Saints & Legends has celebrated some of the most notable Georgians who continue to make an impact in the community and inspire us all to do the same,” said Tracy Crump, CEO of the Foundation of Wesley Woods, in a statement. “It’s wonderful that as we mark this significant anniversary, we once again have such distinguished honorees who truly make a difference for others and help make possible the life-changing work of Wesley Woods.”

Anne Boyd, who is chairing the 2019 event, said Purcell, Robinson and the Turknetts are role models who have paved the way for many.

“Through this honor, they are also helping older adults age with grace, dignity and purpose” Boyd said in a statement. “We look forward to having the community join us as we all gather to shine a light on our 2019 honorees and to support the cherished seniors at Wesley Woods.

Purcell is the retired vice chairman of audit for KPMG, and he has been a leader in civic, corporate and United Methodist organizations.

“Heroes, Saints & Legends is a wonderful way to recognize the work Wesley Woods does for a part of our population that is often overlooked,” Purcell said. “Older adults are a segment of our population that are underserved. Some of them have outlived their resources because perhaps they didn’t quite expect to have the challenges they are now facing.”

Robinson is a retired president of AT&T Southern Region, and he has held leadership roles in the East Lake community and been involved with the PGA Tour Championship.

“As the population ages, many of us are looking for a place where you can feel comfortable knowing that your loved ones are there,” Robinson said. “People recognize the good work that is being done at Wesley Woods, and I’m pleased to be able to help others learn more about it.”

Bob and Lyn Turknett are co-founders and co-chairs of the Turknett Leadership Group, who are being recognized for helping instill character and ethics in leaders.

Lyn Turknett said it is important to take care of people who have a harder time with resources later in life. “I fundamentally believe that we are responsible for each other in this life,” she said.

Bob Turknett said he quickly learned the role emotional support plays in healthy relationships.

“One of the things I have noticed about Wesley Woods is that the emotional support is strong from staff to residents, residents to staff, peer to peer,” he said.

Last year’s gala attracted 330 attendees and raised a record $358,525 for the Wesley Woods Foundation.

By the way, Tracy Crump will be retiring as CEO of the Foundation in January, and a reception was held in her honor on Nov. 14. The board is actively searching for a replacement.

Dave Stockert – Woodruff Foundation

The highly-influential Robert W. Woodruff Foundation has named Dave Stockert to its five-member board of trustees.

Stockert is a director of Mid-America Apartment Communities and Duke Realty Corp. He served as CEO of Post Properties from 2002 to 2016. He holds a number of a civic roles including serving on the boards of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Grady Health System, Horizons Atlanta, the Westside Future Fund, the Commerce Club and the YMCA of Metro Atlanta where he served as chair.

Woodruff Foundation President Russ Hardin described Stockert as a devoted, humble and extraordinarily effective volunteer.

“I cannot think of a more active community leader in Atlanta over the last 15 years,” Hardin wrote in an email. “He cares about our community, he knows it well and he has years of experience raising funds for and leading charitable organizations large and small. His experience and perspective will be valuable to both the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.”

Jenner Wood, who chairs the Woodruff Foundation, echoed Hardin’s comments.

“The selection of Dave as a Trustee of the Woodruff Foundation was easy when we focused on his commitment to the Atlanta community and his engagement with the not-for-profit sector,” Wood said.

Stockert fills the vacancy created by the passing of Wilton Looney on June 1.

By the way, Stockert was honored as Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year during the National Philanthropy Day luncheon Nov. 8 at the Georgia Aquarium. Rex Fuqua was recognized as Philanthropist of the Year.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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