Catholic Charities honors six during annual Chattanooga dinner

Jim Wogan Catholic Charities of East Tennessee, Diocese of Knoxville, News

Betty Jolly is serious about baking cookies.  And for that, Catholic Charities of East Tennessee is grateful.

Ms. Jolly was one of six people honored for their work by CCETN on March 26 in Chattanooga.

Catholic Charities of East Tennessee honorees (L-R): Sophia Bridger, Sharon Hogan, Betty Jolly, Verna Watson, Jill Dearing Walsh, Father Jim Vick

Catholic Charities of East Tennessee honorees (L-R): Sophia Bridger, Sharon Hogan, Betty Jolly, Verna Watson, Jill Dearing Walsh, Father Jim Vick

More than 300 supporters attended Catholic Charities 33rd Annual Dinner at the Chattanoogan Hotel. The event was billed as a “Commitment to Caring that characterizes the Catholic Charities family,” said Sister Mary Christine Cremin, executive director of CCETN.

The six honorees were introduced near the end of the program– with Ms. Jolly receiving a loud ovation for her work as a high-volume cookie maker.

Betty Jolly began a bake sale in 1984 that helped support Catholic Charities efforts.  The bake sale grew and was moved to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. The baked goods are now sold at Chattanooga area parishes. Betty continues to bake over 1000 thumbprint cookies for the sale every year.  She also served two terms on the Chattanooga Council.

Other honorees are:

Sophia Bridger, who first began volunteering for CCETN in 2001 after Monsignor Al Humbrecht asked for her help. Over the next seven years, Ms. Bridger served as a volunteer for the Interfaith Senior Services, a member of the Chattanooga Council and co-chair of the annual dinner.

Sharon Hogan was invited to volunteer for Catholic Charities in 2001. Over the next seven years Ms. Hogan helped with the Christmas Angel Tree and the Opportunity House and was a member of the Chattanooga Council. She also helped with the Annual Dinner.

Verna Watson began volunteering for Catholic Charities more than 30 years ago. She helped form the Pregnancy and Adoption program, chaired the bake sale, co-chaired the dinners and was a member of the Chattanooga Council. She also served as the Chattanooga representative on the board of trustees.

Jill Dearing Walsh has been involved in Catholic Charities for nearly eight years. She served on the Council for two terms and volunteered in the office. Her passion of working with vulnerable women in the Pregnancy Center stems from her Catholic faith and her years as a registered nurse and licensed counselor.

Father Jim Vick, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, was invited to be on the Chattanooga Council in 1999 as a representative of the deanery Spanish speaking community. Father Vick offers invaluable support to the staff and residents of The Home Place as well as other programs. Immigration status was special concern of Father Vick’s for years and with the help of local attorneys, the Office of Immigration Services was developed.

The 33rd Annual Dinner was emceed Jed Mescon of WRCB, Channel 3 Eyewitness News.

Father Michael Nolan, pastor of St. Therese Lisieux Catholic Church in Cleveland, Tenn. delivered opening remarks and the blessing.