The Andrew Johnson Heritage Association, the Official Friends Group of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, announces a fund-raising dinner scheduled for March 15, 2019 at the General Morgan Inn in Greeneville, Tennessee.
The guest speaker for the event is Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association. Joining her is Greg Vital, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Parks Conservation Association.
The purpose of the event is to raise funds in support of educational programs of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site and the Andrew Johnson Heritage Association. This includes: Bright Star Theater’s performances of “North by Night: More Heroes of the Underground Railroad” to four area schools and to the general public. Also, “Art in the Park,” a national program that gives students the opportunity to create artwork based on a theme chosen by the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site and display their work in the park’s Visitor Center.
The event will also raise funds to support “Wreaths Across America,” which places Christmas wreaths on all 2,000 veterans’ graves at the National Cemetery. In addition, funds will be raised to support a new Association program, the Andrew Johnson Scholarship Program for high school seniors and college students.
Theresa Pierno joined NPCA in 2004 after a distinguished career in public service and natural resource protection, and has helped to solidify the organization’s role as the voice of America’s national parks. As President and CEO, one of Pierno’s top priorities for the organization is connecting more diverse and younger people to our national parks.
“For me, it’s about making sure that we have more people—diverse communities, young adults—connecting with these places and understanding that national parks play a primary role in the foundation of our democracy and the future of our ecosystems. Protecting parks is protecting both of these things that are so fundamentally important to all of us.”
In addition, under Pierno’s leadership, the organization’s strategic focus is on ensuring that as the leading advocate for national parks these places continue to be protected and have the resources and infrastructure they need to thrive in their second century.
Prior to becoming President and CEO, Pierno served as NPCA’s Chief Operating Officer and played a critical role in the recruitment of talented, diverse and experienced staff, led the development of strategic priorities with a focus on water and land use policy, and helped to ensure the financial health of NPCA through revised management practices and successful fund-raising efforts. Further, in an effort to engage and inspire new park stewards and advocates, she formed NPCA’s Next Generation Advisory Council—a group of young rangers, civil servants, public land advocates, educators, students and activists with a strong desire to lead national park advocacy efforts well into the future.
Pierno first joined NPCA in 2004 as Vice President of Regional Operations. In that role, she successfully doubled the field program to include more than 60 staff working in 24 offices across the country. The move further enhanced NPCA’s connection to national parks and their gateway communities and helped to solidify the organization’s role as the voice of America’s national parks.
Pierno is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of America’s Great Waters Coalition, a group of 70-member organizations working together to protect and restore waters in and around our national parks that are central to the health of the ecosystem and the recreation of their visitors. Prior to joining NPCA, she served as a Vice President for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and Maryland Executive Director.
Greg Vital is President and Chief Executive Officer of Independent Healthcare Properties, LLC and Morning Pointe Senior Living, a Chattanooga based company that he co-founded in 1996. The company owns assisted living and Alzheimer memory care centers in five southeastern states, including Morning Pointe of Greeneville, Tennessee.
A resident of Hamilton County, Tennessee, Vital is active in business and civic activities, serving on numerous boards and committees, including the National Parks Conservation Association, East Tennessee Historical Society, Tennessee Aquarium, The Land Trust for Tennessee, and Friends of Moccasin Bend National Military Park, now known as National Park Partners.
Vital is a strong proponent of conservation and preservation of natural resources on local, regional and national levels, especially the national park system—having visited over 375 NPS units. He has granted a land conservation easement on his 90-acre farm in Georgetown, Tennessee, where he raises bison.
The fund-raiser is on March 15, 2019 at the General Morgan Inn. A cash bar will be available beginning at 6:00 pm as well as a Silent Auction. Dinner and the program will be at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $50 per person and are available at the offices of Main Street: Greeneville; Andrew Johnson Bank (Main Street, Greeneville); and Consumer Credit Union (E. Andrew Johnson Hwy). Payment by check is preferable. Or, by contacting George Collins at 423-525-0240 or e-mailing at firstname.lastname@example.org. Major sponsors for the program include Andrew Johnson Bank, Consumer Credit Union, Unity Urology, GCS Partnership, Youth Builders of Greeneville, First Tennessee Foundation, and Copies Unlimited.