Last Thursday, a ceremony was held and the courtyard of the Dawn of Hope was named in honor of former executive director Lee Chase. Chase retired at the end of December after serving the Dawn of Hope for over 30 years.
In the years before home improvement stores were so commonplace in Johnson City, the horticulture program powered by Dawn of Hope’s clients made the organizations one of the premier plant sellers in the area. Steve Cox, who succeeded Chase as the Dawn of Hope’s executive director, said Chase’s passion for gardening made the dedication of the Chase Courtyard a fitting tribute.
“For 33 of those 50 years (the Dawn of Hope has been open), this organization was led by my mentor and friend Lee Chase,” Cox said. “For those of you that know Lee, you know that he’s a devout plant lover and an amazingly gifted gardener. So we thought it was appropriate to dedicate this courtyard in his name.”
The courtyard – which will be enjoyed by staff and clients of the organization – is now adorned with covered tables as well as raised flower boxes and gardens. Recalling his days at the Dawn of Hope, Chase thanked his wife Susan and all those he worked with for helping make his tenure successful.
“I can’t really think of an honor that means more to me than this beautiful courtyard and the plants,” Chase said. “This organization, I thank God he led me here and blessed me for those years.”