Every two years, Church of God Home for Children alumni converge on the campus of Smoky Mountain Children’s Home (formerly named Church of God Home for Children) for a reunion. This year was no exception. Alumni who grew up at the children’s home came from California, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee and many other states to celebrate “homecoming” with their brothers and sisters.
The theme this year was: 99 Years and Still Going Strong! They gathered Friday evening for a “pizza” party sponsored by SMCH which began their weekend festivities. On Saturday morning, they met in the Magnolia Auditorium for their business meeting. Alumni appreciated their time on Saturday afternoon visiting cottages, sharing their stories with other campus residents and seeing the progress made at the place they call “home!”
“These siblings may not be biologically related, but they are just as close due to their time shared at the children’s home,” said Dr. Walt Mauldin, executive director of the SMCH. “The respect and love demonstrated to one another and to their former house parents (house mother’s as they were referred to in that era) is genuine and felt throughout the weekend.”
Saturday evening the alumni gathered for a banquet where they enjoyed a meal together, presented awards and entertained each other with various skits. Several awards were presented and they included: Servant Awards to Rev. Mike and Gwen Walker and Ginger Odom; Special Achievement Award, Tim Pompey (author); The Lillian Kinsey Award, Mrs. Annie Loyd Elliott; and Alumni of the Year Award, Anna Phillips. Staff members and alumni who have passed away in the last two years were also honored and recognized by the group.
Dr. Walt and Tammie Mauldin expressed their appreciation for the camaraderie shown to Smoky Mountain Children’s Home and the many ways the alumni offer their continued support of The Home. The entertainment for the evening was led by Lexi Daniel, 18, and a part of the current Independent Living Program at the Home, who played guitar and sang for the alumni.
The grandeur moment for the Children’s Home was a separate meeting with alumni members for the Church of God Home for Children and alumni from the Church of God Home Kidz group, along with staff from SMCH. The meeting was held to discuss a Centennial Homecoming event planned for September 26, 2020.
“Members attending the meeting were very excited about the idea of coming ‘home’ again next year to celebrate the 100 years of ministry of the children’s home,” Mauldin stated. The Church of God Home for Children was founded in Cleveland, Tenn. in 1920.
To follow the centennial events for the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home, please visit the website: www.smch.org; Facebook pages: Smoky Mountain Children’s Home, Church of God Home for Children, Home Kidz and Twitter: @cogsmch and @wmauldin; call the office: 865.453.4644; or email Dr. Pamela Kay Overbey, [email protected]
(Source: SMCH, Dr. Pamela Kay Overbey, Special Events Director / Executive Assistant to Dr. Walt Mauldin)