ABINGDON, Va. (WFXR) — Jim Watson is being recognized for his outstanding volunteerism after serving his community for thirty years as a truck driver for the Food City Distribution Center in Abingdon.
Watson was selected as the 2023 winner of the Claude P. Varney Humanitarian Award. Watson has been a dedicated volunteer with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital after his son, Cade, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2010. Even after Cade finished receiving treatment at St. Jude’s in Memphis, Watson felt compelled to give back to a foundation that provided his family with endless amounts of support. Over the past twelve years, Watson, alongside his family and friends has raised over $760,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Watson, a full-time truck driver, and full-time father organized various events over the years to reach this tremendous fundraising goal. Community members in Abingdon may recall bingo games, bluegrass shows, and golf tournaments over the years, all contributing to an amazing cause.
“I am very grateful for winning this award, but to me, this is about the kids of St. Jude and this award is for them,” said Watson. Food City will make a $1,250 contribution on Watson’s behalf to the charity of his choice.
The program was created to commemorate Claude P. Varney, Food City’s beloved former president and board vice-chairman of 47 years. Varney is remembered not only for his loyalty to the company, but for his philanthropic spirit and drive to support humanitarian services.
Watson was selected by an independent panel of judges among thousands of employees. K-VA-T, Food City’s parent company, operates over 150 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, north Georgia, and Alabama. Additionally, thirteen districts are recognized and awarded a $250 contribution to their charity of choice, and two divisional winners are awarded a $750 contribution to their charity of choice every year.
“We’re extremely proud of the difference our associates make in their community by devoting their time and talents in the service of others,” said Steven Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer. Food City continues to honor their altruistic employees through Claude P. Varney’s legacy.