CARSON SPRINGS—The Carson Springs Baptist Conference Center was at capacity Thursday afternoon as hundreds gathered to honor attorney James C. “Jim” McSween, Jr.
McSween was the recipient of the 22nd annual Cocke County Citizenship Award.
The award is sponsored by Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service, Inc. (SCHAS), and it recognizes and honors a deserving person who demonstrates their care for the community and its citizens.
In keeping with the spirit of giving in East Tennessee, the CCC Award encourages volunteerism, philanthropy, and community involvement.
In accepting his award McSween thanked the community for its support throughout the years.
“I am incredibly humbled and honored to be here and accept this award,” McSween said. “Thanks to all of you for your support. I especially want to thank my family and my office staff.
“At my house I have a deck. From the deck I can see the mountains and the green trees. I can see the shiny roofs. I can see the distant fields and smell the flowers and magnolias. I can even hear the school bells from across the way. I sit and think that God is on his phone and all is right with the world.
“When I leave the deck and go down to the patio, the view is different. I see the brown grass and the weeds that are growing. I hear the sound of an ambulance and I hear the sound of the police siren and I know someone is in trouble. You’ve seen the view from the patio.
“You’ve heard the sounds and you’ve felt the need around us. You have responded with your time, gifts and your service. The many community agencies and services we have here make this a better place to live.”
McSween’s son Phil spoke about his father’s commitment and drive to help others.
“I grew up in a household where my father was committed to his family, committed to his community, and absolutely committed to his church,” McSween said.
“It’s been a blessing for me to have that background. I asked my dad once when he was going to retire. He said, ‘Phil, as long as I can go in the office and help somebody then I’m going to keep pressing on.’ That’s who Jim McSween is, that’s my dad.”
Fellow attorney Clyde Dunn also spoke at the event on behalf of retired Judge Ben W. Hooper II.
The comments gave an extensive look at McSween’s history and his service to Newport, Cocke County and his country.
McSween attended Newport Grammar School and graduated from Cocke County High School as Valedictorian in 1948.
After earning his Bachelor in History from the University of Chattanooga in 1952, he entered UT College of Law, earning his Bachelor of Laws in 1953.
“He was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Tennessee in March of 1954, and practiced briefly with his father in Newport before entering the United States Army in June of that year,” Dunn said.
“He was discharged on September 30, 1954 to accept an appointment as a First Lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General school. He completed the course and remained a member of the staff until he was discharged in 1957. Here remained in the Army reserve until he was honorably discharged as a Major from the Army in 1968.”
McSween was recognized by the Tennessee Bar Association as a Senior Counselor in 2004. He is a member of the Cocke County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, Tennessee Land and American Title Association and represented the Sixth Civil District on the old Cocke County Court (now the County Legislative Body) in 1960.
During his tenure, that group, working with the Cocke County Board of Education, saw the construction of new facilities at Cocke County High School, Grassy Fork Elementary and Hartford Elementary, along with additions to other schools.
He holds memberships in numerous professional organizations, has sat on the Newport Regional Planning Commission since 1967, served on the Newport City Board of Education for 27 years, and has been a member of the Newport Kiwanis Club since 1958.
McSween was deeply involved in efforts to acquire a full-service hospital for the local area, was a director of Central Charities of Newport and Cocke County, and is a past member of the Cocke County Library Board, past director of the Boys Club of Newport, and past trustee of Carson-Newman College.
He has been a deacon at First Baptist Church since 1957 and represents the church as a director of Union Cemetery.
McSween has been a lifelong traveler, and he and his family have visited most of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America and every country in Europe.
Daryl Brady, field representative for Congressman Phil Roe, was on hand to present a proclamation honoring McSween. Sen. Steve Southerland and Rep. Jeremy Faison, as well as City of Newport Mayor Roland “Trey” Dykes and County Mayor Crystal Ottinger also provided proclamations recognizing McSween’s efforts and achievements.