The award honors outstanding service, community involvement and financial support of Lake Junaluska.
Don Rankin, a retired United Methodist pastor and district superintendent, and his wife, Pat, moved to Lake Junaluska from Louisville, Kentucky, in 2008 to be closer to family and to live in a community with a strong culture of service.
“This is a helping, healing place where we can be involved in the mission of Lake Junaluska,” said Pat Rankin.
An active United Methodist Women’s circle member, Pat Rankin is a past president of the Junaluska Woman’s Club, an organization committed to improving the overall experience of life at Lake Junaluska. She also has been in charge of the club’s annual craft show.
Don Rankin has served as president of the Friends of the World Methodist Museum and of the Lake Junaluska Assembly Property Owners Organization. He also served on the election committee of the Junaluska Community Council. In addition, he organizes and participates in Lake Junaluska’s country music jam sessions and is one of the tour guides for the historic boat tours at Lake Junaluska.
The couple also leads more than four dozen volunteers in the annual decorating of Lake Junaluska for Christmas.
“They are in charge of Christmas decorations around the lake, which is actually a year-round duty and involves purchasing decorations and keeping them in good repair,” said Delmas Copeland, the 2018 Chief Junaluska Award recipient, in presenting the honor to the Rankins.
The Rankins accepted the 2019 Chief Junaluska Award with a reminder to potential volunteers that it was just a few months to Christmas and with humble gratitude.
“There are so many here at the lake who do so much — more than we do, but we thank you for the honor and for thinking of us,” said Don Rankin.
Associates Weekend is an annual gathering of supporters of Lake Junaluska and a celebration of the mission and ministry accomplished through their generosity. Events in 2019 included concerts by the Lake Junaluska Singers and Paul Saik, a brick dedication ceremony, a golf tournament, special meals, worship, a storytelling gathering and more.
In addition, over $25,000 was raised during the weekend to support family ministry initiatives at Lake Junaluska.
“We are excited that the amount raised exceeded our goal for the weekend,” said Bernie Brown, Associates Council Chair. “Family is so important. We are thankful for generous donors who support Lake Junaluska’s efforts to strengthen family relationships, provide meaningful inter-generational experiences and nourish spiritual formation.”
Ken Howle, executive director of Lake Junaluska, said Associates Weekend is truly a celebration weekend — a chance to celebrate the generosity of those who love this sacred place.
“I am so very thankful for this unique community that includes people like Don and Pat Rankin who live out our mission of Christian hospitality every day by giving of their time and resources in service to others,” said Howle.
Lake Junaluska Associates are individuals or households who make an annual charitable gift of $250 or more towards the mission and ministry of Lake Junaluska. Since 1968, Associates have given more than $4.5 million to Lake Junaluska.
“The support and love for Lake Junaluska shown by our Associates over the years and continuing today makes a difference,” said Howle. “Together, they make it possible for Lake Junaluska to live more fully into our mission of being a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body.”