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Bar association honors attorneys
Young receives first Mike Cannaday Award
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The Martinsville-Henry County Bar Association on Thursday presented the first Mike Cannaday Award to Martinsville attorney R. Reid Young III (center). Young is seen above with Cannaday (left) and association President George Lyle. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Friday, April 6, 2012

By AMANDA BUCK - Bulletin Staff Writer

The Martinsville-Henry County Bar Association on Thursday recognized two local attorneys for contributions to the community that stretch beyond the administration of justice.

The bar association, which includes more than 50 attorneys, presented its inaugural Mike Cannaday Award to R. Reid Young III of Martinsville. During the event at the Henry County Courthouse, both Cannaday and Young were honored for their contributions to the legal profession and the community.

The association’s members voted in February to create the award to recognize a person in the legal community who “embodies the spirit of service, good humor and outgoing personality” that Cannaday exemplifies, according to a news release.

Members donated more than $4,000 to fund the award, and Cannaday was asked to pick the first recipient, said George Lyle, the association’s president.

Cannaday, who opened his law office in Collinsville four decades ago, said he was an eighth-grader watching President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration on his family’s brand-new color television when he was inspired to serve others.

“I heard the new president say words that later became the motto for a generation: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country,’” Cannaday recalled.

Since then, Cannaday has been involved with the Jaycees, Rotary Club, Boy Scouts and other civic organizations. He also is a past recipient of a Virginia Bar Association award for contributions to the state justice system for pro bono (free representation in civil cases) or court-appointed work.

“A service award named for me is a very high honor,” Cannaday said. “... I’ve always tried to serve, and our recipient today of the first award has done the same.”

Cannaday said his relationship with Young predates Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address: the two were first-graders together at John Redd Smith Elementary School.

That was nearly 60 years ago, Young noted.

A Marine Corps veteran, Young served in Vietnam and has a long record of community service, including recent efforts to spearhead a campaign to address the litter problem in the area, Cannaday said.

Young cited the litter campaign and his work with the USMC Scout/Sniper Association — an organization of former Marine snipers who work to provide active-duty snipers with needed equipment and gear — the two causes about which he is most passionate.

Young said he “had no idea” he would be named the award winner Thursday.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am,” he said. “And I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to share this moment with Mike.”

Lyle and Christina Slate, secretary/treasurer of the bar association, presented Young with a check for $500 “to continue his good work,” a plaque and a bottle of wine.

The bar association plans to make the award a tradition, Lyle said. He noted that not only attorneys but court clerks, law enforcement officers and others who contribute to the administration of justice will be eligible.


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