By Emily Williams
Leadership Vestavia Hills will honor two leaders who have worked to make the city a better place during its 28th annual Community Leadership Awards Banquet on Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Vestavia Hills Country Club.
JoAnne Mote, who has helped organize many events in the community over the years, will be recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Valerie McLean Cuddy will be given the 2018 Distinguished Citizen Award.
Mote, a long-time Vestavia resident and local business owner, as well as a community volunteer.
“It has always been important to me to give back as much as I get,” Mote said.
Her family owns and operates American Pest Control and Hollywood Pools.
Mote said the combination of living and working in the city heightened the drive for her to give back in any way she could.
“I’ve always loved the holiday events,” she said, adding that she enjoys any event that draws people from all corners of the community together.
Over the years, Mote has been instrumental in organizing the annual Vestavia Christmas Parade as well as the I Love America Day events, and 15 years ago, she helped add a Halloween event to that list.
The annual Viva Vestavia tasting event was one Mote helped create. The Hollywood Pools’ U.S. 31 location hosts the annual event, which celebrated its 15th year in 2017.
In addition to helping plan and organize events, Mote noted that she and her family businesses are dedicated members of the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce, and she is a longtime member of the Vestavia Hills Historical Society.
In addition, Mote maintains an active role as a board member and advocate for Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Center, which reaches throughout the greater Birmingham area and beyond to provide educational and outreach opportunities for children and adults with autism, behavioral health disorders and mental illness.
She first joined the board in 1977, when it still was operated out of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Mountain Brook via the local Children’s Service League. The post involved spending 25 hours a month volunteering with children served by the organization.
“I always loved spending one-on-one time with the children and those have always been my best memories,” she said, adding that those moments have only been made more meaningful over the years as her grandson utilizes the organization’s services.
Mote said her late husband also took an active role supporting the organization and spent much of his retired life enjoying the campus and fishing in the lake.
Joining Mote in the spotlight at the awards ceremony will be Cuddy, who is accepting the 2018 Distinguished Citizen Award.
Cuddy is the owner of the Trak Shak running shops and one of the founders of an annual half marathon fundraiser for The Bell Center for Early Intervention, which evolved into what is today the Mercedes Marathon.
In addition, she won a bid in 2003 to host the U.S. Men’s Marathon National Championship and the 2004 U.S. Men’s Marathon Olympic Trials during the Mercedes Marathon weekend.
A running enthusiast herself, Cuddy has championed healthy initiatives in the community, a passion she has passed on to her children.
During his time attending Vestavia Hills High School, Cuddy’s son, Breck, helped organize the school’s annual Purple People Run, which is an annual fundraiser for the school’s Relay for Life program.
For more information about the Community Leadership Awards Banquet and to buy tickets, visit leadershipvestaviahills.com. ❖