For the past 30 plus years, Gayle Moyer Harris, has helped shape Williamson County through her work serving the community in a myriad of posts all of which have focused on enhancing the quality of life for others.
Gayle Moyer Harris
First as a county commissioner, then as a leader who helped to form the Williamson County Economic Development effort, Harris showed that she was a visionary.
Years later, she helped to forge Franklin Tomorrow and her service on the Board of Directors for the Williamson County Public Library, YMCA of Middle Tennessee and the Board of Directors for the Community Housing Partnership of Williamson County have all strengthened those organizations.
She made a significant impact on the county when she took the position of the inaugural director of the 21st Judicial District Drug Court, which remains strong today.
It is for her devotion of time, talents and energy to the betterment of Williamson County that she was honored recently as the Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero.
During the creation of the 21st Drug Court, Gayle worked closely with Circuit Judge Tim Easter and a number of other individuals involved in the court system.
She recognized the serious need for a program that would address not only the punishment of criminal offenders who had drug and alcohol problems, but also a way to allow them to accept responsibility for their actions, change their choices and break the cycle of addiction that prevented them from true rehabilitation.
During her years as director, Gayle not only managed and directed the program brilliantly, but she also took a personal interest in the success of each of the defendants admitted to the program.
"In 2002, she found a passion for working with those who suffer from the illness of addiction. She became the first coordinator of the 21st Drug Court," shared Williamson County Circuit Court Judge Tim Easter in his nomination of Moyer Harris.
"There, she literally changed the lives of participants from the criminal justice system whose addictions were leading them on a destructive path. For nine years, she involved herself in people’s lives, guiding them to sobriety in any way it may take to save them.
Not only did she oversee the funding and day-to-day operation of the program, she became a wise role model for hundreds of participants who came to love 'Ms. Gayle' for her tireless pursuant for them.
She was a counselor, job hunter, housing finder, education promoter, parenting skills teacher, financial advisor, health provider, physical fitness instructor, urine testing tech, curfew checking cop, taxi driver, clothes washer, and a 'whatever it takes gal' to the participants. Most importantly, she saved lives."
Members of the community have told stories of attended graduations where successful graduates, with tears in their eyes, have recounted the many ways Gayle helped them turn their lives around.
"Gayle possesses the heart of a servant that John Wesley challenged all humans to have: 'doing all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.'"
Now retired, Gayle spent her professional career as an attorney, a talent that she brought to her service to the community over the past 30 years.
Gayle is married to retired Circuit Judge Donald P. Harris. She is the mother of two, stepmother of two, and doting grandmother of eleven. She is the proud daughter of her elderly father, whom she provides daily care. She is passionate and energetic about these roles.
As a part of her Hometown Hero award, a $500 donation has been made in her honor to the 21st Drug Court.
Posted on: 11/14/2013