Lee News

Stewart to Serve as 2017 Great Strides’ Community Chair



Stewart to Serve as Community Chair


Cleveland business leader Lee Stewart will serve as community chair for Great Strides 2017, according to campaign officials at Lee University. The 17th annual Great Strides Walk and 15th annual 65 Roses 5K, which raises funds and awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation, will be held on Saturday, April 1.

“It will be a pleasure to serve with Lee Stewart, who has agreed to lead the Great Strides event this year,” said Lee president Dr. Paul Conn. “Mr. Stewart has gained the respect of our entire community, not only for his business leadership, but for his commitment to serving others. He is a good friend of Lee University and a great fit for this wonderful event.”

Stewart is president, CEO and director of Southern Heritage Bank and has more than 40 years of banking experience. He began his career in 1972 at American National Bank in Chattanooga as business development officer and credit officer, and since then, has served at various banks throughout the South.

Stewart has served as campaign co-chairman and as chairman of the Board of United Way of Bradley County. He is a recipient of the United Way William F. Johnson Community Service Award, the 2017 M. C. Headrick Free Enterprise Award, and the Robert Varnell Leadership Award from the Chamber of Commerce. He was also awarded the Outstanding Christian Business Leadership award from the Bradley County Ministerial Association. He is an active member of the Bradley Sunrise Rotary Club and currently serves as a business committee member of the Cleveland Public Education Foundation.

Stewart is a graduate from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking, University of Oklahoma, and Tennessee Wesleyan University.

He and his wife of 45 years, Cynthia, are members of First United Methodist Church, where he currently serves on the administrative board as well as the finance and outreach committees. The Stewarts have two sons, Ben and Mark, and two grandchildren.

“I am so grateful to be in the middle of this wonderful event,” said Stewart. “Great Strides is helping to improve life and bring hope for a cure to CF patients, and to be able to aid in this endeavor is such an honor.”

The Great Strides event will rally hundreds of community participants and Lee University students to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Last year, the event drew over 1,000 walkers, runners and volunteers who raised more than $68,000 which pushed the amount raised by Lee and Cleveland for CF research past $850,000.

Dr. Mike Hayes, vice president for student development at Lee, and Vanessa Hammond, CF parent and director of the office of grants at Lee, will serve alongside Stewart. The 65 Roses 5K road race will be directed by Dr. Bill Estes, dean of the Helen DeVos College of Education. Volunteer support will be provided by the university’s Student Leadership Council.

The route for the 2017 walk and 5K run (3.1 miles) will begin and end on the Lee campus and travel throughout Cleveland’s historic downtown area. The road race, in partnership with Terra Running Company, will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the walk at 10 a.m.

Great Strides is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest national fundraiser, raising more than 42 million with over 125,000 participants at events all across the nation.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is a nonprofit donor-supported organization dedicated to attacking cystic fibrosis from every angle. Its focus is to support the development of new drugs to fight the disease, improve the quality of life for those with CF, and ultimately find a cure. In the last 30 years, the life expectancy of a child with CF has doubled, and research is happening daily to find a cure and perfect drugs available to those living with CF.

For more information about the Cleveland Great Strides or to register, visit Great Strides.

For more information about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, visit CFF.
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