2020 order of the red triangle

John Gromos

For 2020, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee is proud to present its highest volunteer honor—the Order of the Red Triangle—to John Gromos.   A mechanical engineer by degree, John first became involved with the Y in his role as Turner Construction’s Principal-in-Charge for the construction of our Bellevue Family YMCA. Over time, his involvement with the YMCA deepened, and when his professional role ended and the new Bellevue Y opened, John continued to support our organization as a member and volunteer, eventually serving as chair of the Bellevue YMCA Advisory Board.    After nearly two decades of volunteer service, John most recently agreed to chair our Property Committee, where his leadership of a number of significant capital efforts has been invaluable. Over the course of the last year, in particular, John’s steady approach and wise counsel have been tremendous assets to our One Brentwood strategy, the exploration of development opportunities downtown and our renovation planning for Y-CAP following 2020’s devastating tornado damage in east Nashville.    When we’re not keeping him occupied, John is a Regional Vice President at Turner Construction. Prior to his time at Turner, John worked with Smith Seckman Reid, Inc., but perhaps his most regaled past position was as the quarterback for the Vanderbilt Commodores in the late 1980’s. John was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1990 NFL draft and after a short stint there, he has since made Nashville his home.    John and his wife Betsy are the parents of two adult daughters, and these days John’s perhaps proudest of a recent new title, that of grandad. John is an active member in the community, serving on several other not-for-profit boards and he volunteers in many community organizations/events. 

1964 — H.G. Hill Jr.
1965 — Clifford Love Jr.
1966 — Edmund W. Turnley Sr.
1967 — Mark Bradford Jr.
1968 — Roupen M. Gulbenk
1969 — Harold U. Buchi
1970 — George H. Cate Jr.
1971 — Russell W. Brothers
1972 — James M. Hudgins M.D.
1973 — Robert L. Freeman
1974 — D. H. Vardell
1975 — Thomas E. Baldridge
1976 — Homer B. Gibbs Jr.
1977 — James M. Ward
1978 — Charles L. Cornelius Jr.
1979 — A. Battle Rodes
1979 — William C. Weaver Jr.
1980 — William Henderson
1981 — Sydney F. Keeble Jr.
1982 — J. P. Foster
1983 — W. Ridley Wills II
1984 — Walter Knestrick
1985 — Dortch Oldham
1986 — Jack Elisar
1987 — Robert L. Bibb Jr.
1988 — James L. Harper
1988 — William B. Wadlington M.D.
1989 — William Wilson
1990 — E.M. “Bert” Haywood
1991 — Nelson Andrews
1992 — Sandra Ford Fulton
1993 — William E. Turner Jr.
1996 — Margaret H. Maddox
1997 — H. Lee Barfield
1998 — John Ed Miller
1999 — Rebecca Thomas
2000 — Cal Turner Sr.
2001 — Senator Douglas Henry
2002 — James A. “Jimmy” Webb III
2003 — Anne E. Ragsdale
2004 — Florence Davis
2005 — Ron F. Knox Jr.
2006 — Jacquelyn Draughon Guthrie
2007 — Bill DeLoache
2008 — Cal Turner Jr.
2009 — Wood S. Caldwell
2010 — Rep. Brenda Gilmore
2011 — Frank F. Drowota III
2012 — George L. Yowell
2013 — Marty G. Dickens
2014 — Leilani S. Boulware
2015 — Bill Lee
2016 — Liz Wilson
2017 — R. Walter Hale III
2018 — Jimmy Granberry
2019 — David Wilds



Lawson C. Allen

In 2020, it was the Foundation of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee’s distinct privilege to present its highest volunteer honor, the H.G. Hill Jr. Philanthropic Award, to Lawson C. Allen.  


Growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas, Lawson developed a love of summer camp that would later inspire his first volunteer engagement with our YMCA. He made his way to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt University, where he earned his bachelor’s in Public Policy Studies and met, and later married, his wife of 28 years, the former Mary Lauren Barfield. 


Lawson’s career in financial management began with a stint at New York-based Banker’s Trust Company, before he joined local firm Lee, Danner & Bass, Inc. Investment Counsel, where Lawson is now president and director.  


It did not take Lawson long after making Nashville his permanent home to begin giving back to the community. As a board member of the Joe C. Davis YMCA Outdoor Center, he was instrumental in making the dream of a resident camp a reality, serving as the center’s advisory board chair during the capital campaign to add overnight camping facilities to the growing day camp program. 


That initial involvement burgeoned into more than two decades of YMCA service, during which time Lawson has twice chaired our Y’s multimillion-dollar Annual Giving Campaign. Today, Lawson serves as a member of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee Association Board and Executive Committee and is the current chair-elect.  


Like the H.G. Hill Jr. Philanthropic Award winners who’ve come before him, Lawson’s community service extends far beyond the YMCA, and includes countless other nonprofits including, but not limited to, First Presbyterian Church Nashville where he serves as a ruling elder, Friends of Warner Park, the Kharis Foundation, Leadership Nashville Foundation, Nashville Society of Financial Analysts, and the Sigma Chi International Fraternity.  


Lawson and Mary Lauren are the proud parents of three adult sons, Harrison and Frist, who live and work in Dallas, and Cole, who recently began his collegiate studies at Southern Methodist University. The Foundation of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee remains grateful for Lawson, and all that he continues to do to make our community stronger. 

1995 — Sis & Dortch Oldham
1996 — Margaret & Dan Maddox
1997 — Anne Knestrick
1997 — Walter Knestrick
1998 — Cathy & Bill Turner Jr.
1999 — Anna & Bill Wadlington M.D.
2000 — Anne & Dick Ragsdale
2001 — Florence & Buzz Davis
2002 — Honey & Joe Rodgers
2003 — Irene & Ridley Wills II
2004 — Marshall Polk III
2005 — Frank Burkholder
2005 — Linda Burkholder
2006 — Lolly & Senator Douglas Henry
2007 — Bond DeLoache
2008 — Kaye & Ron Knox
2009 — Mary & Lee Barfield
2010 — Barry & Homer Gibbs
2011 — Frances Caldwell Jackson
2011 — Anne Caldwell Parsons
2011 — Wentworth Caldwell Jr.
2012 — Bill Wilson
2013 — Sandra & Richard Fulton
2014 — Ruth & Bob Napier
2015 — Cal Turner Jr.
2016 — James A. Webb III
2017 — Marty & Betty Dickens
2018 — Leilani S. Boulware
2019 — Gov. Bill & Maria Lee


The support of volunteers and donors has always been critical to the YMCA’s mission, but in 2020, their incredible generosity made an even bigger impact. Meet just a few individuals whose dedication, leadership and servant hearts helped us secure, steward and deliver essential resources to our community in a time of overwhelming need.