Community Contributions Lauded

29 September

If we had more people like (Al and Michelle Creswell), what could we do here?” CornFest chairman Lynn Glover asked at Wednesday’s annual Pride of Obion County luncheon.

The full-house event was staged at Celebration Centré to honor Union City businessman Al Creswell, who was nominated for the honor by Betty Smith and selected by an anonymous panel of judges from outside the area who reviewed all nominations.

Creswell, who is a licensed certified public accountant and a partner in Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC in Union City, was joined at the head table by his wife, Michelle. Mrs. Creswell has made many contributions to the community herself and was described by the honoree as a firm supporter and encourager of his efforts through the years. The couple’s son, Phillip, who makes his home in Union City with his wife, Katie, and their new son, Preston; Creswell’s father, Dr. Alfred Creswell of Jackson, formerly of Union City; and his sisters, Elna Jean Butler of Hermitage and Carolyn Williams of Goodlettsville, were also in attendance.

Celebrating the occasion, too, were employees of ATA, and many friends from throughout the community, including head-table guest the Rev. Stan Waldon, pastor of Union City First United Methodist Church, where the Creswells are active members.

Mrs. Smith introduced Creswell and called attention to the attributes she said made him stand out in any venture he undertakes. She said the honoree was smart, organized, positive and compassionate, considering every project a learning experience and refusing to become discouraged, no matter what the circumstances. She noted his many commitments to area needs and said not only had Union City and Obion County profited directly from his time and talents, but he had also poured resources of energy and expertise into the University of Tennessee at Martin and Alpha Tau Omega’s annual fundraising activities. He was named Outstanding Alumnus for ATO and is a “Life Loyal Tau” and member of the UTM fraternity’s board of trustees.

Creswell is the president-elect, treasurer and program chairman of Union City Rotary Club, where he has been named a Paul Harris Fellow. In addition, he serves as financial advisor for the Rotary Club Scholarship Committee and takes a major role in the UCHS Rotary Relays each year.

He is also actively involved with Discovery Park of America, the multi-million dollar education-entertainment-tourism complex being built in Union City, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Tennessee-Union City.

The Pride of Obion County has been president and is currently a member of Union City High School Booster Club and is a faithful 20-year member of the UCHS football “chain gang” at his alma mater. Mrs. Smith noted that it was his support as committee chairman that made possible the school’s $800,000-plus capital campaign and related construction of the school’s multi-purpose indoor athletic training facility. He is past member and treasurer of the Union City Schools Foundation and the Union City School System Improvements Task Force.

Creswell is corporate treasurer for the Obion County Distinguished Speakers Foundation, which will be presenting America’s best-known jockey, Pat Day, at a banquet this evening at Hampton Centre in Union City, and his efforts have helped make possible major improvements to Elam Stadium at Graham Park.

He has also volunteered as a coach and manager for the city’s baseball programs for children through the years and has served tirelessly on the UTM Development Committee and the UTM Athletics Board. At his church home, he has been chairman of the finance committee and the FUMC Foundation. He has also filled roles as diverse as chairman of Boy Scout Pack 252, member of the board for Union City Civic Auditorium, Jaycees’ member who was actively involved in the Chimes for Charity program and member of the Shrine Club and Union City Masonic Lodge, in addition to service on the board of directors of Poplar Meadows Country Club.

Creswell, who was visibly moved as he rose to address the audience, said while he was not comfortable with the recognition afforded him, he was deeply honored by the award.

“I’ve been blessed to live in Obion County for 56-plus years and have received so much from so many of you,” he told those who had gathered to express appreciation to him for his many commitments in this area.

“I’m especially proud to have Phillip here today,” Creswell said after introducing family members in the audience. “So much of what I’ve done here has been out of a desire to make this place attractive for Phillip and now for Katie and Preston. Many of you share that desire to make Obion County attractive so our children and grandchildren can find success here, just as we have. It’s a great place to raise children. Through the years, Michelle and I had the opportunity to go to other places, but we chose to stay and make this the best place it can be.”

Creswell noted previous Pride of Obion County honorees and shared the impact some of them, such as Jim Rippy and Clay Woods and the late Charlie Vaughn and the late Barry White, had on his life.

“Now is important for all of us,” he said in closing, “but the future is what drives us to constantly improve Obion County. My charge to you is that each of you continue to give time and talent for the betterment of our community. I am honored to have received this award, but most of all, I am proud to say I was born, raised and plan to spend the rest of my life in Obion County.”

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