Rice’s half century as a volunteer with the State Fair dates back to his childhood, when, at 6 years old, he would accompany his father, also a fair volunteer, and report to a work station in the women’s building at the time that was in charge of the fair’s flower show.
John Rose, chairman of the Tennessee State Fair Association, presented the award to Rice and described him as a “faithful, dedicated and committed supporter of the Tennessee State Fair.”
“He has sacrificed time with his family over the years and spent countless hours to help produce the best State Fair possible. His determination to get the job right the first time, the dedication to help others and his tireless efforts to make sure fairgoers have the best experience possible have not gone unnoticed,” Rose said.
Rose told the audience who attended the Middle Tennessee Agricultural Club’s annual luncheon meeting at the State Fairgrounds where the presentation was made, that Rice’s father told him that, “if he was not up early, he would miss getting to go to the Fair. So, Chuck would wake up early and go sit in the car so he wouldn’t be left.”
Rice’s reward for his volunteer hours during the childhood years was free ride tickets, which Rose lamented was compensation “better than gold for a young child.”
Rice’s volunteer service at the fair for the past 20 years or so has been overseeing parking.
Rice, a building inspector with Nashville’s metro government, has lived in Mt. Juliet for more than 20 years.
In 2000, the Tennessee State Fair recognized a need to honor the workers and volunteers who go above and beyond their commitments to the fair and created the Distinguished Service Award. Past recipients have been volunteers, workers, department heads and fair managers.
Earlier this year, with the passing of Mt. Juliet’s Hale Moss, a faithful supporter of the State Fair and a leading principal of the Wilson County Fair, the Tennessee State Fair Association board voted to rename the Distinguished Service Award in his honor.
“Because of Hale’s lifelong commitment not only to the Tennessee State Fair, but also to the Wilson County Fair and to the promotion of Tennessee agriculture, our board felt it was appropriate to rename this award to honor and recognize his many contributions,” Rose said.