Nashville Top Ladies of Distinction & Top Teens bring holiday feast, love to Kelly Miller Smith Towers residents

The TLOD Nashville Chapter Senior Thrust KMST Holiday Feast was a success. (photo by Deborah A. Culp)

The TLOD Nashville Chapter Senior Thrust KMST Holiday Feast was a success. (photo by Deborah A. Culp)

The Nashville Chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. (TLOD) and their Top Teens of America Nashville (TTOAN) joined forces with the management, service coordinators and office staff at the Kelly Miller Smith Towers apartments (KMST) to kick off the 2015 winter holiday season via their annual Thanksgiving Dinner for KMST Senior and disabled residents. The ladies do this ministry as a part of their ‘senior thrust’ arm, and are well received every year by KMST residents and staff. Lady Carmilita Parham is the chairman of the Senior Citizens Thrust.

KMST Office Executive Sheena Smith said: “The Top Ladies are top of the line, in regard to this event and overall.”

Weeks before the TLOD and Top Teens arrived, conversations could be heard throughout the building about the sumptuous home cooked meal coming. The annual Thanksgiving meal being provided would have all the trimmings and some of the tastiest deserts found in the Mid South, not to mention the beautiful crafted table decorations courtesy of TLOD Gladys Lawrence.

The meal was kindred to a small feast and the pleas for second helpings radiated throughout the large noisy, festive room. But that is not the absolute bottom line. Whether the resident is alone, or has family or someone to provide them with a holiday meal—it’s the socialization component that stems from the core heart of the TLOD and their compatible Top Teens Chapter.

This year’s program began with a prayer and proceeded on from there with captivating readings, by TLOD Chaplain Rhonda Bodie. Piano playing was soothing with hymns played and sung by Lady Eleanor Bright, TLOD Nashville historian. They began as solos but ended up with the entire audience chiming in together and not missing a beat of the words to the songs, especially ‘This Little Light of Mine.’

Lady Gracie Porter, chapter president, addressed the residents letting them know how special they are to TLOD Nashville. Miss Elise, one of the Top Teens, played an old Christmas favorite (‘Sleigh Ride’) on her clarinet.
Daughter of city Councilwoman Erica Gilmore and granddaughter of Tenn. Rep. Brenda Gilmore, Anyah Gillmore-Jones, demonstrated eloquent speaking skills when she addressed the crowd. As for the Top Teens of America Nashville, each of the young people who came out that evening was versed in interpersonal communications and the needs of the residents.

They not only helped to serve the tasty meal, they sat down and interacted with the residents. One of the attendees remarked that the teens reminded them of their own grandchildren. Of course this added loving touch enhanced the warmth and kindred spirits of the evening. The youth demonstrated good manners, were well spoken, and maintained eye contact. It was all very genuine, and further contributed to the family atmosphere of the evening. Lady Candice Rhodman is the Chapter Advisor for the Top Teens.

Ironically both entities are historic in their own right. KMST is the residential structure named after the legendary, Civil Rights activist Rev. Dr. Kelly Miller Smith, Sr. (1920-1984).

The TLOD is a professional humanitarian organization which was organized in Tyler Texas on September 8, 1964, and has local chapters throughout the United States.

The program and food serving was done in seamless, punctual order. A good time was had by all, and it was a great way to start the 2015 winter holiday season. For various reasons, not everyone looks forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s season. Clearly the TLOD ‘earth angels’ do all possible to change this outlook for the grateful KMST residents. For more information or to support this innovative, charitable group visit the website at