Chris Kerr named chair of Heart of the Community Foundation

Chris Kerr has been elected chair of the Heart of the Community Foundation.Kerr is a commercial and residential sales agent at Hardy Realty. A native of Rome, Chris returned in 2015 after working in New York and Los Angeles for 18 years. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and was chosen by the Georgia Rotary Student Program to attend the University of Oslo in Norway. He also received a Master’s degree from the Annenberg School at The University of Southern California.

In addition to the Heart of the Community Foundation, Kerr is a member of the City of Rome Public Arts Committee, the Rome Rotary Club and serves on the Board of Directors for the Rome Area Council for the Arts and the Rome Floyd Chamber. Kerr also is a graduate of the 34th class of Leadership Rome.

Other members of the Heart of the Community Board include: Angie Beard, Brenda Bowen, David Brearley, Kristy Stoner-Brown, Steve Graves, Nancy Hunter, Judy Ingram, Dawn Irmscher, Chris Jackson, Kristi Kent, Mary (Mai Mai) Kelly, Mandy Maloney, Monisha Patel, Elaine Price, Mimi Richards, Lauren Sklar, David Smith and Esther Vaughn.


Sign up for the Loving Hearts Move Event

The Heart of the Community Foundation invites the public to participate in Loving Hearts Move, a community walk-cycle-paddle event held on Saturday, February 17. The free event will start at 9:30 AM at the Town Green (located in front of Forum River Center). Participants may opt to participate by either walking, cycling or paddling.
A simple sign up form can be found here: 2018 Heart Walk/Cycle/Paddle Event

2018 Heart of the Community award recipients along with family, friends and supporters will participate in the event. Donations will be accepted at the event where all proceeds will support heart related projects in the Rome community.

Chris Jackson, Heart of the Community Board Member, is helping to coordinate the event. “Loving Hearts Move is a fun way for everyone in the community to show their support for a heart healthy community. Between walking, cycling, and paddling; there is something for everyone to enjoy,” said Jackson.

To kick off the event, “When in Doubt-Dance” team from Elm Street Elementary will help participants warm up before heading to the land and water trails. Additionally, Elm Street Kid’s Enterprises will have products available for sale.

The walk route is 1.5 miles; the bike route is 2 miles and the paddle is 3 miles. All events will start at the Town Green. Participants who want to paddle can reserve canoes or kayaks through CRBI by calling 706-232-2724.

The event is part of a full day of celebrations including the Heart of the Community Awards of Honor, which recognizes individuals who have committed their service to support the local community. Everyone who participates in the event is encouraged to tag their photos with #RedmondHOC to show support for the Heart of the Community and their mission to exhibit a servanthood philosophy to Rome and Floyd County.

For questions on the Loving Hearts Move Walk-Cycle-Paddle Event, contact Chris Jackson at

2018 Heart of the Community Award Recipients

On Saturday, February 17, 2018, ten of Rome’s “unsung” heroes will be honored at the Heart of the Community Awards of Honor gala called An Affair of the Heart.  For 31 years, Redmond Regional Medical Center has sponsored these awards to recognize and honor individuals whose commitment through volunteer service has made this community a better place in which to live, work and raise a family.

Our 2018 recipients include:  Libby and Ira Levy, Board of Governors Award, Jay Shell, Young Heart Award , Elm Street Elementary School, Business Award and Awards of Honor Recipients,  Mike Burnes, Stephanie McElhone, Annette Morris, Lenora Santoro, Charles Smith and Scott Smith.


Tickets for the event are available for purchase here: PURCHASE TICKETS or by calling Wanda J.  Whitten at 706-802-3924.


Mike Burnes, 2018 HOC Award Recipient

Mike graduated from Rome High School in 1969 and the U.S. Naval Academy in 1973. He served seven years in active Navy and 23 years in Navy Reserve.  He retired as a Navy captain in 2003. Bill Thornton says, “There is never a job too big or too small for Mike. He is always ready to serve behind the scenes in any capacity for as long as needed or as the person in charge”.

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An Affair of the Heart Set for February 17, 2018

Tickets will be available soon for the 32nd Annual ‘Affair of the Heart’ banquet honoring the 2018 recipients of the Heart of the Community Awards.
There will be several events going on that day to benefit the Heart of the Community Foundation.


2017-18 Heart of the Community Chairman Announced

Michelle Picon has been appointed Chairman of the Heart of the Community Foundation Board of Governors for 2017-2018.

The “Heart of the Community Awards” recognition program is sponsored by Redmond Regional Medical Center and the Heart of the Community Foundation, Inc. to honor local citizens for their volunteer service to our community.  Recipients of the awards are honored at a black tie gala, “Loving Hearts, Helping Hands,” The 32nd annual event will be held on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the Forum.

Proceeds from the event will be designated for heart education and safety programs in the Rome and Floyd County community.  Previously funded projects have included the Heart House for families of critically ill patients on the Redmond campus, AED units in public facilities in Rome, a fitness course at Ridge Ferry Park, fitness equipment at the Thornton Center, swimming scholarships at the YMCA, exercise equipment for Summit Quest, and grants to various humanitarian and heart related agencies in Rome and Floyd County.

Michelle is a graduate of Princeton University were she majored in English.  She has a background in financial journalism and has taught or tutored Spanish at Darlington for the past 10 years.

She is a member of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church where she serves on the Finance Committee and on the Mission and Vison Committee.

Michelle is a founding board member of the Historic Desoto Theatre Foundation, where he has served as Vice-President and is involved in the construction fundraising and grant writing committees.   She has previously served as president of Saint Mary’s School PTO, Chair of the St. Mary’s auction and in various capacities at the Darlington Upper School Tiger PRIDE and the East Central Elementary PTO.

Picon and her husband, Harbin Clinic Cardiologist, Dr. Hector Picon, are natives of San Juan, Puerto Rico and have lived in Rome for over 25 years.  They have four adult children, Michelle Marie, Monique. Melissa, and Hector Miguel.


Additional Heart of the Community Foundation Board members who assist in the event and the mission of the Foundation include: Harry Brock, Angie Beard, Brenda Bowen, David Byearley, Kristy Brown, Steve Graves, Nancy Hunter, Judy Ingram, Dawn Irmscher, Chris Jackson, Kristi Kent, Mai Mai Kelly ,Monisha Patel, Elaine Price, Mimi Richards, Lauren Sklar, David Smith, and Esther Vaughn. Wilson.