A former educator who helps bring Christmas joy to Grenada children is the recipient of the 40th annual “Book of Golden Deeds Award.”
Members of the Grenada Exchange Club recently honored Donald L. Vaughan as an educator, a man of faith and a philanthropist.
“Your warm heart and strong desire to reach out to help your fellow men and women demonstrate your willingness to put others before you,” said Diane Barrentine, co-chair of the Golden Deeds Committee, speaking during a ceremony at the Perry Creek Golf and Racquet Club.
Vaughan, 74, a former music teacher, was surround by his wife, Shirley, his children and host of friends.
Vaughan was born in Webster County. He graduated from John Rundle High School.
Grenadians will perhaps best remember him for helping start the St. Nicholas Treasure Chest, a project through which citizens collect toys for needy children. Vaughan chaired the project from its inception in 1981 until 2010. The Treasure Chest has provided toys for more than 17,000 children.
“Donald Vaughan’s greatest act of selfless charity has been his dedication to serving underprivileged children in Grenada County,” said committee co-chair George Mullen.
Vaughan’s friends lined up to testify to his love of community and country.
“I’ve known Donald for 40 years, and he’s just a humble and unassuming fellow who cares for others,” said Girault Jones, who attends All Saints Episcopal Church with Vaughan and assisted him with the Treasure Chest in its early days. “He inspires young people and sets a great example as servant,” said Jones.
Jones also read a letter from the Rev. Elizabeth Wheatley-Jones, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church.
“Donald strives to be a servant leader, not perfect but faithful,” said Wheatley-Jones. “He is intentional, passionate and motivated by the love of God.”
Long-time friend Claudia Neelly called Vaughan “a man of impeccable character, who’s always exhibited the highest ideals in his life.” Neelly and husband, Ed, have know the Vaughans most of their lives, she said. They’ve traveled all over the world together. “He’s a Christian, a family man, a wonderful friend and generous with his time and talents,” said Neelly.
Days after the ceremony, Ed Neelly, who couldn’t be present to see his friend receive the award, spoke of Vaughan.
“I think the world of Donald,” said Neelly. “He has a big heart, a love of charity, God and his fellow man.”