During TAHRA's Annual Training Conference held in Gatlinburg, Candace Gump was awarded the 2016 Gordon Acuff Award of Excellence to recognize and honor her work at First Tennessee Human Resource Agency. Challenged with providing rural transportation services for the eight county region of Northeast Tennessee, Candace researched and established an alternative fuel program for her fleet of vehicles. Pictured above (left to right) are John Bucy - Gordon Acuff Award Committee Chairman and Northwest Human Resource Agency Executive Director, Candace Gump - NET Trans Director, and Jason Cody - TAHRA President and First Tennessee Human Resource Agency Executive Director.

Her energetic and impassioned nature made easy work of the demands found in a project this size. Candace's efforts to lower operational costs, convert vehicles to be more efficient by using two sources of fuel (propane and gasoline), construct a pumping station, train mechanics and staff members are what made her work stand out over the other Gordon Acuff Award submissions.  

NET Trans (Northeast Tennessee Rural Transportation System) operates approximately 100 passenger vehicles. These vehicles are used to transport rural residents of all ages (giving first priority to the elderly, the handicapped, and the economically disadvantaged residents with medical needs). Candace projects that the use of bi-fuel systems in her vehicles will provide a conservative net savings per vehicle of $9,000 over their useful life.

Candace's work captures the spirit of a true pioneer in the delivery of social services begun by Gordon Acuff as he worked to help low income families and preserve social service programs by working with members of the Tennessee General Assembly to write the Human Resource Agency Act of 1973. This Act established a system to touch families from one end of the state to the other. The Gordon Acuff Award process allows each Human Resource Agency to tell their story while highlighting the best in our community services. Candace deserves a tremendous pat on the back from all of us. Toot your horn as the 2016 Gordon Acuff Award Honoree!