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Mathews, Jones win Gatekeeper awards

By Gary Lloyd

TRUSSVILLE — The Trussville Tribune’s June Mathews and Independence Place’s Carrie Jones won the Gatekeeper awards over the weekend at the Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet.

The Gatekeepers recognize outstanding service to the community.

Mathews won in the individual category.

“It came as a complete surprise,” Mathews said. “When I think of past Gatekeepers, all of them people I’ve admired and often aspired to be like through the years, I’m humbled to be in their company. It’s a great honor, and I’m deeply grateful to the chamber for deeming me worthy.”

June Mathews
photo courtesy of Diane Poole

Mathews serves with the Trussville Historical Society, Trussville City Schools Foundation, Friends of the Library, Library Board and the Chamber of Commerce Board. She has taught vacation Bible school and teaches fifth grade Sunday school.

Mathews, a regular columnist for The Trussville Tribune, has also served on the chamber board for the past three years and will serve as board president in 2014.

Jones and Independence Place won in the group category. Her investment in the lives of students and adults with exceptional needs has had profound impact on Trussville.  Her design of the Life Skills Academy at Hewitt-Trussville High School provides a full-scale apartment used to prepare many of her students with basic independent living skills for day-to-day functioning.

Carrie Jones, center
photo courtesy of Lance Pate

During the last few years, Jones began to envision a program, located in Trussville, which would offer continued empowerment to her students – many of whom are now adults. In September 2013, her dream was birthed. After much diligence, persistence, and tireless efforts, she arranged with First Baptist Church Trussville to have space for her dream. She created a board of directors, secured appropriate legal documents, enlisted caring volunteers, organized several fundraising and community awareness events, and was able to hire an executive director for the program. A parent of one adult participant said, “Independence Place has given my son a reason to look forward to tomorrow.”

Karen Davis from the Trussville Public Library was named the Customer Service Person of the Year. Ambassadors of the Year awards went to Brooke Morris and Michael Lynam.

Contact Gary Lloyd at and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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