ATLANTA (March 5, 2017) – SECO has announced the recipients of its 2017 awards, recognizing significant contributions to the profession of optometry. Steven Reed, O.D., has been named Optometrist of the South, SECO’s highest honor; Matthew Jones, O.D., received SECO’s Young Optometrist of the South award and Curtis Turner, Jr., has been named Paraoptometric of the South. In addition, Lowell H. Gilbert, O.D., has been awarded posthumously the President’s Award. The awards will be presented to the recipients during the SECO International House of Delegates meeting on March 4, 2017.

“SECO is proud to recognize several outstanding individuals for their significant contributions to the optometry profession, including Dr. Gilbert, who is a past president of SECO and the Virginia Optometric Association and will long be remembered for his contribution and dedication to the profession,” said Dr. Ted McElroy, president of SECO International. “This year, we also honor Dr. Reed, Dr. Jones and Mr. Turner not only for their individual achievements in their respective states, but for raising the standard of optometric care that patients throughout the country receive today. They should be applauded for their many accomplishments and unwavering commitment to the optometry profession.”


Steven Reed, O.D., of Magee, Mississippi, has been named the 2017 Optometrist of the South, SECO’s highest honor. Practicing optometry for over 20 years, Dr. Reed owns Family Vision Clinic of Magee, his first optometry practice, and Family Vision Clinic of Collins. He also is co-owner of Southern Eye Care of Clinton and Southern Eye Care of Forest, as well as president and owner of McRaven Tour Home, a historic property built in 1797 in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and referred to as “the most haunted house in Mississippi.”

Dr. Reed graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in 1991 and earned his O.D. from Southern College of Optometry (SCO) in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1995. He served as Chair of the Board of Trustees at SCO from 2014 to 2016 and served on the board from 2009 to 2016.

Dr. Reed is a long-time member of the Mississippi Optometric Association (MOA) and has served in a variety of leadership roles, including president. He provided leadership to the MOA during a time of rebuilding, which laid the groundwork for future programs and operations. In addition, he is on the Board of Trustees of the American Optometric Association (AOA) and has served as delegate/alternate to AOA’s House of Delegates (2004-2016). In addition to serving on a variety of committees over the years for AOA, he is a Visionary Level Supporter of AOA’s Political Action Committee. Dr. Reed also has served as a trustee for the Southern Council of Optometry from 2010 to 2016.

Dr. Reed has given back to his community in many ways throughout his career and has provided service to the visual welfare of the public. As president of the Magee Lions Club, he was the co-coordinator of the club’s first annual H.F. “Mac” McCarty Golf Tournament, which raises funds each year for eye examinations and glasses for the underserved of Simpson County. In addition, Dr. Reed is an InfantSEE® provider and is a coordinator and participant in screenings in schools throughout Simpson County. He also has participated in the statewide Sight Savers Program, providing eye examinations to Magee’s underserved. He represented the Forest Lions Club for two years in Costa Rica providing eye examinations as part of Student Volunteers in the Optometric Service to Humanity (SVOSH). He and his wife, Kendra, reside in Magee, Mississippi.
Steven Reed, OD
Steven Reed, ODOD of the South


SECO has named Matthew Jones, O.D., of Blytheville, Arkansas, the 2017 Young Optometrist of the South. This SECO award recognizes an optometrist in practice for less than 10 years, but who has already made a significant impact in the field of optometry.

Dr. Jones graduated from the University of Evansville in Indiana and earned his O.D. from the Southern College of Optometry (SCO) in 2009. He has practiced in Blytheville for the past seven years and is co-owner of the Blytheville Family Eye Care Center. Since beginning private practice, he joined the board of directors of the Arkansas Optometric Association in 2011. He was awarded the association’s Young Optometrist of the Year Award in 2012. After serving on the board for four years, he moved into an officer position as secretary/treasurer and currently serves as president-elect. He will assume the role of president for the 2017-2018 year.

As a member of the Southern Council of Optometrists, Dr. Jones is serving his third year as a volunteer member of the logistics committee for SECO International. He also is a member of the AOA and has attended several AOA Congressional Advocacy Conferences in Washington, D.C., and is a keyperson for one of the U.S. Representatives from Arkansas. At the state level, he serves as legislative keyperson captain for Northeast Arkansas.

Giving back to the community and optometry profession, Dr. Jones has served as a board member of Vision Arkansas, the charitable foundation of the Arkansas Optometric Association, since 2011. As past chairman of a golf tournament, he also helps raise money for scholarships for student doctors. He serves as a reverse-mentor and pioneered the Young OD Mentor Program in Arkansas. The program aligns new doctors with experienced professionals to build strong relationship between them and to assist in the student’s transition to practitioner.

Dr. Jones also is an ordained minister. He and his wife, Allison, and daughter, Sutton, reside in Blytheville, Arkansas.
Matthew Jones, OD
Matthew Jones, ODYoung Optometrist of the South


SECO has awarded Curtis Turner, Jr., of Greenville, S.C., with its 2017 Paraoptometric of the South honor. Mr. Turner has worked as a Practice Manager for the Eye Institute of Greenville Health System since 2014. In addition to a variety of practice management and training positions, Mr. Turner also has vast military and law enforcement experience.

Mr. Turner is a lifelong learner and has earned an MBA in Health Care Administration and Accounting & Finance, as well as a Master of Education. He also has earned a bachelor’s in Management and Public Administration

As a member of the American Optometric Association (AOA) Paraoptometric Section, Mr. Turner served on numerous Paraoptometric section committees, including the annual meeting committee and education committee with the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification. He also served several terms with the AOA Paraoptometric Section as the Member-at-Large, Chair Elect and Chair of the section. While continuing to serve his profession, Mr. Turner served as Chair of the Paraoptometric Section of the California Optometric Association (COA).

Mr. Turner has conducted lectures at AOA’s Optometry’s Meeting for the Certified Paraoptometric Assistant and Technician review courses. He also has authored continuing education articles for the AOA and the COA. His commitment to optometric related service has also been recognized by the U.S. Army when he was awarded a Meritorious Service medal and a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. He also continues to volunteer his time in the community in which he lives.
Curtis Turner, Jr.
Curtis Turner, Jr.Paraoptometric of the South


SECO has bestowed posthumously Lowell H. Gilbert, O.D., of Colonial Heights, Virginia, with the 2017 President’s Award, a prestigious honor given by the SECO President.

“The Southern Council of Optometrists wants to recognize Dr. Gilbert with our sincere and heartfelt appreciation for his many years of dedication and service to the profession,” said Dr. McElroy. “His perseverance in support of our profession and commitment to our mission and ideals will be long remembered.”

Dr. Gilbert had served the Colonial Heights community and Virginia as an optometrist for more than 40 years. He served as SECO President in 2005-2006 and was first elected as an officer to the SECO International Executive Committee in 2001. He ran a private practice in Colonial Heights and specialized in contact lenses and treatment of disease. After graduating from Bob Jones University, Dr. Gilbert earned his O.D. in 1965 from the Southern College of Optometry. From 1966 to1969, Dr. Gilbert served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He was the assistant chief of the Optometry Clinic at the U.S. Army Hospital at Ft. Jackson, S.C. from 1968 to 1969.

Following military service, Dr. Gilbert joined the Virginia Academy of Optometry in 1970 and was both diagnostically and therapeutically certified by the Virginia Board of Optometry. Professionally, Dr. Gilbert was a long-time member of the Virginia Optometric Association (VOA) since 1965 and served as its president in 1992-1993, after also serving as chairman of the Legislative Committee.

Dr. Gilbert was named VOA’s Optometrist of the Year in 1993 and received the Distinguished Achievement Award in 1999. Dr. Gilbert was appointed to the Virginia State Board of Optometry by Governor George Allen and the Virginia Board of Health Professions by Governor James Gilmore.
Lowell Gilbert, OD
Lowell Gilbert, ODPresident's Award


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