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St. Jude honors Dennis James

Dennis James received the "Hero Among Us" Award from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. In this photo, he and wife Mary Pat are training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa to raise funds for St. Jude. CONTRIBUTED
Dennis James received the “Hero Among Us” Award from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. In this photo, he and wife Mary Pat are training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa to raise funds for St. Jude. CONTRIBUTED
MADISON – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has selected Dennis James as recipient of the prestigious “Hero Among Us” Award.
James was recognized for his leadership in support for St. Jude. He works as Director of Student Services for Madison City Schools (MCS).
During the St. Jude Marathon Weekend, James received the award at the Pre-Race Pasta Party on Dec. 2. James and representatives from all 11 MCS campuses were in Memphis to run the 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathon for St. Jude.
ALSAC St. Jude CEO Richard Shadyac Jr. presented the award to James at the dinner, attended by 2,400 people from across the nation. (St. Jude founder Danny Thomas founded ALSAC as the fundraising organization for the hospital.)
Shadyac referenced James’ work with MCS’ “St. Jude Hero” program, which to-date has raised more than $500,000 for the lifesaving work of St. Jude. “Dennis and his team believe in the importance of teaching others to give back … that when you have the ability to help, you have the responsibility to help,” Shadyac said.
The Pre-Race Pasta Party is the largest dinner hosted in the City of Memphis each year. The Hero Among Us award is one of only two awards given during the night.
“I was shocked,” James said. “I had no idea that was going to happen. It’s very humbling to receive that kind of recognition in front of that crowd.”
“There were 2,400 people in the room. All of them are working to help St. Jude defeat childhood cancer,” James said.
In his impromptu remarks to the crowd, James said the program is a district effort, and it couldn’t have reached this level without the support of “some of the best principals in the nation. The program helps teach our students to care for others, and that has a positive impact on our school climate and culture.”
Each MCS campus has had a current or former patient at St. Jude. The MCS community raised $57,160 this year through various campaigns.
Principals in Madison schools filmed a video to launch this year’s pledge drive for St. Jude. To view the video, visit youtu.be/u503BqTvGPU.

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