Bob Terry, editor emeritus of The Alabama Baptist, became the first recipient of the new Robert Hugh Edmonds Distinctive Service Award on Nov. 14.
The award — presented at this year’s Friends of The Alabama Baptist dinner — is named in honor of the late Edmonds, who along with his wife, Margaret Ann, was named an honorary lifetime TAB board member in 2013. The couple are the only two honored with this title in the organization’s history. Edmonds died July 26 at age 90.
Jennifer Davis Rash, president and editor-in-chief of TAB Media Group, said for a few years now, “several board members and staff members have discussed the possibility of creating a way to honor those outside of current staff members who have gone the extra mile in their service to the mission of The Alabama Baptist.”
As they finalized the details of the award, they knew it needed to be named after Edmonds, she said.
Enthusiasm and encouragement
“Hugh’s enthusiasm for serving on the board and helping spread the word about the work being done captured my attention early in my tenure with The Alabama Baptist,” Rash said. “Hugh and Margaret Ann were always such an encouragement to all of us. They rarely, if ever, missed a meeting and would go to great lengths to be present to support the work being done.”
The new award “commemorates their enduring faithfulness and dedication to the work and mission of The Alabama Baptist,” she said.
Rash presented the award in memory of Edmonds to his son, Rick, during the dinner, which happened to be held on Edmonds’ birthday.
“My daddy would have been overwhelmed by your naming this impressive dedicated service award for him,” he said. “When Daddy was elected to the board of trustees, he considered it a high honor. He served on several boards over the years, but it was The Alabama Baptist he loved the most.”
Gary Fenton, chairman of the TAB board of trustees, presented Terry as the inaugural award recipient.
Representing the best
Fenton said Edmonds “epitomized what a board member should be.” He “loved The Alabama Baptist and believed the state paper performed a crucial role in keeping Baptists in our state informed on the important issues of our day.”
Edmonds was also “extremely proud of the outstanding work that Dr. Terry did as editor,” Fenton said. “Mr. Edmonds believed that informed Baptists led by the Spirit of God will make good decisions. Dr. Terry worked tirelessly to keep the Baptists of our state informed and was recognized not only in our state but throughout the nation for his efforts.”
Edmonds “represents the best of our Baptist laymen,” and Terry “represents the best of Baptist statesmen and is very deserving to be the first recipient of the Hugh Edmonds Award,” Fenton said.
Terry said of Edmonds, “Hugh loved his church, he loved the Lord, and he loved The Alabama Baptist.”
“Hugh liked to be informed,” and he thought The Alabama Baptist board of directors “was the best place to serve in Baptist life,” Terry said.
Recognizing board member Rick Ellison
Also during the Friends of TAB dinner, Rash recognized Rick Ellison, director of missions for Baldwin Baptist Association, who is rotating off the board. Ellison came on the board in 2016 to complete an unexpired term, then was reelected for a full term.
He served most recently as chair of the finance committee and as a member of the executive committee. He previously served as a member of the finance committee, nominating committee and circulation promotion committee.