Golden honor physician wins exchange award

By JEANIE RIESS Staff Writer The Greenwood Commonwealth

The Greenwood Exchange Club gave its highest honor, the Book of Golden Deeds, to a man with a long history of civic involvement, Dr. John Fair Lucas III.

The Book of Golden Deeds, which was established in 1919, recognizes volunteers who give endless time to making their communities better places to live.

“I’ve always been interested in being active in the community,” Lucas said after receiving the award Thursday. “I moved back to Greenwood and saw an opportunity to get involved.”

When Dale Persons presented the award to Lucas, he joked that he didn’t understand why so many members of the Lucas family were present for a surprise award. Indeed, the award’s recipient was joined by a host of family members, including Tell Lucas Flowers, Aubrey Lucas, Marsha Lucas, Beth Lucas Naaman, John Fair Lucas Jr. and Mary Dent Lucas.

Persons went on to commend Lucas for being “an outstanding citizen in Greenwood,” taking part in a wide range of activities from the Boy Scouts of America to the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce.

Lucas graduated as valedictorian of Pillow Academy and graduated summa cum laude from The University of Mississippi and summa cum laude from the Duke University School of Medicine.

Since moving back home to Greenwood after medical school, Lucas has put his talents to use in the service of the community.

He served as Greenwood Leflore Hospital’s chief of staff, vice president of the Delta Medical Society, president of the Delta Trauma Care Region and president of Delta Hills, among other organizations.

Outside the medical community, he has been active in the United Way and serves on the boards of directors for The Museum of the Mississippi Delta, Greenwood Little Theatre and Pillow Academy. He serves on the vestry of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity and coached girls’ soccer and softball.

On Memorial Day and Independence Day for the past 14 years, Lucas has placed American flags at local cemeteries. He also has helped with the John Lucas IV Memorial Tennis Tournament, which has raised more than $100,000 for local charities in the past 10 years.

He is a founding board member of the Leflore County Health Clinic, which provides health care for patients without insurance.

“And then there’s the Boy Scouts,” said Persons.

Lucas has won numerous awards from the organization, including its Silver Beaver Award and its District Award of Merit. He’s taken Scouts near and far, from a canoe trip to Canada to rebuilding homes in Ocean Springs after Hurricane Katrina.

In 2012, the Commonwealth honored Lucas with its annual Community Service Award.

Lucas thanked the Exchange Club for his latest honor. After the ceremony, the physician conceded that he only sleeps four hours a night, owing to the time he has to get involved in such a variety of activities.

“I have more time than most people,” he explained.