Foundation presents Community Hero award to Lander’s Tommy Tumblin
Monday, Nov 23, 2020
Juke Leary, Tommy Tumblin, and Jeff Smith
Lander University’s Tommy Tumblin, center, is the recipient of the Community Hero award from the Greenwood County Community Foundation. Representing the foundation were Dr. Juke Leary, left, who created the award to recognize the “unsung heroes” of the community, and Jeff Smith, the foundation’s president and CEO. Photo by Deb Crenshaw-Nygro

The Greenwood County Community Foundation bestowed its prestigious Community Hero award to Lander University’s Tommy Tumblin on Friday (Nov. 20) in recognition of his service program Tommy Claus.

Presented by Jeff Smith, president and CEO of the foundation, the award recognizes those “who do wonderful things without any regard for recognition.”

Smith said Tumblin’s philanthropy had an impact on him. “I read about your having to give up Tommy Claus. I was so touched by the work that you have been doing for the Lander community and the community at large.”

The Community Hero award was established by Greenwood physician Dr. Juke Leary to honor “the unsung heroes of the community.”

Leary told Tumblin, who was surrounded by his peers from the Physical Plant at Lander and other University friends, “We are so grateful for you. This award is a small token of appreciation from the entire Greenwood community.”

Tommy Claus, which has distributed toys to children in the Upstate for 20 years, began in Tumblin’s garage and ultimately expanded to the warehouse of Joel Manley, owner of Joel’s Floor Coverings in Greenwood. The charitable organization served thousands of children over the years. An emotional Tumblin, who is retiring the program because of the serious illness of his father Bud Tumblin, said, “It is a difficult thing to let it go, but it has been a good run. It really does me good to see kids that you helped years ago come up and thank me now, years later.”

The Greenwood County Community Foundation works collaboratively with individuals and organizations interested in improving the quality of life in Greenwood. Through its many grants, the foundation provides funding to charitable organizations located in the county.