Governor Pat McCrory recognized 21 volunteers from throughout North Carolina for their community service today during a ceremony at the State Capitol Building. Recipients of the 2016 Governor's Award for Volunteer Service were from 21 counties throughout the state, ranging from teenagers in high school to others nearly 90-years-old and above and were recognized for service in 11 categories.
"The volunteers recognized today are the best of North Carolina," said Governor McCrory. "This year's recipients did not volunteer to be recognized or receive credit. However their actions help make our state a better place and inspire others to give back to their communities."
The North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service within the Office of Governor McCrory grants awards to nominees in categories including individual, family, group/team, youth, senior, mentor, faith-based, disaster, national service, corporate/business, perseverance in volunteerism and lifetime achievement.
2016 Governor's Award for Volunteer Service Recipients:
Donna Ethier – Catawba County
Ethier volunteers with the Rape Crisis Center of Catawba County. She has spent the last two years pursuing improved access to services for victims of sexual violence. Ethier has researched grant opportunities for Frye Regional Medical Center, made toolkits for nurses and ER staff, and secured equipment to better serve victims of sexual assault that come into the emergency room.
Jesse Milliken - Union County
Milliken has volunteered nine years at the Union County Community Shelter and now serves as the current board chair. Milliken’s leadership helped to build the organization from a budget of $280,000 to over $1 million in a five-year period. Thanks to his efforts in raising awareness and funds, the shelter has transformed from a small staffed emergency service shelter to leading homeless individuals and families to permanent housing. The community shelter estimates it prepares approximately 50,000 meals per year.
William Rowland - Lenoir County
Rowland has spent 57 years documenting the complete history of the CSS Neuse. The CSS Neuse was a Civil War-era steam-powered ironclad ship. Rowland's work has been very beneficial to the CSS Neuse State Historic Site and the NC Department of Natural and Cultural resources. In 1964, Rowland discovered the remains of CSS Underwriter in the Neuse River at New Bern. In addition to his work on the Neuse, Rowland volunteered with the Lenoir County Emergency Services for twenty-five years.
Patricia Likes - Lee County
Likes has volunteered with the Christians United Outreach Center of Lee County for six years. She oversees programs, training volunteers, and coordinating special services such as Easter baskets, Thanksgiving turkeys, and Christmas gifts for families. Likes has also been instrumental in providing bilingual interpretation during her over 2,000 volunteer hours last year. Likes also devotes many hours as the youth director at her church, to The Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, American Red Cross, United Way, AmeriCorps, community youth program and the Crisis Pregnancy Center.
Jonathan Jones - Gates County
Jones volunteers much of his time for the children of Gatesville Elementary School PTA. He is in charge of all of the fundraising for the school’s needs and has held multiple fundraisers every year, raising over $22,000 to assist Gatesville Elementary. Jones also volunteers with 4H as a coordinator and chaperon and has helped with the Wounded Warriors Turkey Hunt for the last four years.
Henry Thornton - Rockingham County
For the last 43 years, Thornton has served as an excellent role model to young men in the community as Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 566. Since 1973, Thornton has mentored 65 boys that have earned their Eagle Scout rank. He has served Troop 566 in numerous ways on many different committees and completed countless additional training.
Linda Walters - Durham County
For the last nine years, Walters has volunteered in countless ways for Hillandale Elementary School and for the past two years at Riverside High School. She encourages parent involvement and organizes many programs and projects at the school. Walters has been a Girl Scout leader for the past nine years, planning and preparing troop meetings, camping trips, and service projects. She also volunteers her time with children at the Durham Children’s Choir.
Cassandra Jones Garrison - Dare County
Garrison is active in the Community Emergency Response Team and a member of the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles. She volunteers her time at the Dare Home Health and Dare Hospice. Garrison provides care and compassionate support for patients and their families.
Barbara Roberts - Alamance County
For 28 years, Roberts has volunteered at the Friends of Alamance County Public Libraries. She shelves books, trains new volunteers, and helps with library programs and events. She has also been involved in numerous Alamance County nonprofits and organizations including Alamance Arts, Meals on Wheels, PTA, Alamance Children’s Theatre, Pink Ribbon Committee, and the Alamance Service League.
Jane Dennis – Mecklenburg County
Dennis has volunteered with the Girl Scouts Hornet’s Nest Council for 33 years as Troop Leader, sales manager, and member and chair of multiple committees. She helped with an outreach troop at Rama Road Elementary, offering a girl scout experience to girl’s who may not be able to participate in a traditional troop setting. Dennis recently began helping a “Girls Go Beyond” program at the elementary school, sharing her passion with girls who may not have had the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouts due to socio-economic barriers. She has managed around 90 Girl Scout Troops, serving over 1,000 girls a year.
Clara To - Orange County
To is a rising senior at East Chapel Hill High School and volunteers at the Triangle Disability Awareness Council. She also volunteers at the Morehead Planetarium summer camp, Duke Hospital, youth summer programs and music camps, and as a peer tutor.
Lillian Wright – New Hanover County
As the older sister of two siblings with Down syndrome, Wright was inspired to found the first ever high school chapter of Best Buddies. Best Buddies is a non-profit organization that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities form meaningful friendships. Lillie has served as President of the club since its inception and served more than 75 students, with and without disabilities. Along with Best Buddies, Wright serves as a counselor for PALS Summer Camp for young adults with Down syndrome and their peers.
CPM Wolverine Proctor - Davidson County
CPM Wolverine Proctor is a global leader in the design and manufacturing of processing equipment. They are active in the community and the entire plant was eager to help with the project of making a cauldron for the Special Olympics. When they heard about the need, CPM Wolverine Proctor employees went to work. Material and labor costs for making this cauldron well exceeds over $5,000 and has over 80 hours of labor involved. In addition, five to six volunteers are sent to the local competition to assist.
Kelli Crawford - Guilford County
Crawford is the volunteer coordinator at the Greensboro Science Center that includes a zoo, aquarium and museum. She has approximately 750 volunteers and three programs that rely heavily on the work her volunteers provide. Crawford and her volunteer program have benefited the community in various ways through assisting scout groups, fundraisers, and raising awareness through “Endangered Species Day” and “World Oceans Day”.
Ann Lowder - McDowell County
Lowder has dedicated most of her 88 years of life to volunteer service. She founded Girl Scouts in McDowell County and was also involved with the Boy Scouts. She has a passion to help others and has helped many to obtain their certification with first aid, water safety and lifeguarding. Lowder and her husband had a passion for making memories for children and built Camp Carolina on their property and operated this camp free to campers. She also volunteered for the American Red Cross, Asheville Rehabilitation Center and YMCA of Western North Carolina.
Dan Pearson - Forsyth County
Pearson has given 20 years of volunteer service, 20-25 hours per week, 48 weeks each year to Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County. He assists with the building of 15-20 new houses for low income Forsyth County residents each year and repairing nearly as many. Pearson also developed the Cornerstone Leadership program that provides training to anyone willing to lead crews of Habitat volunteers. He has also taken on the responsibility for the development of the new Construction Technology Center.
Gary Poe - Ashe County
Poe has volunteered for over a decade with the Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission. He has been a board member and leader of the We Care committee, providing assistance to 700 people each year. The goal of the committee is to raise funds for people in need of fuel assistance and help with utility bills for the elderly and families with young children. Poe is a leader in numerous activities to help those in need, including the “Keep the Heat On” soup luncheons, and many fundraisers.
Arthur Kluttz - Cabarrus County
Kluttz has dedicated 75 years of service to the Mount Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department. He became a member in 1941, has won firefighter of the year at the county and state level, and became Fire Chief in 1963. Kluttz has served in all positions of the Cabarrus County Firefighters Association. Even after retirement and at 91 years of age, he serves as a mentor to the department. He is also a founding and current member of the American Legion Post 301.
Dr. Pelham Thomas - Jackson County
Dr. Thomas has worked with Meals on Wheels and as a ramp builder for Project Care for 40 years. He shares his talents of music by singing and playing the mandolin at local nursing facilities and participating at Adult Day Care programs. Dr. Thomas is known for greeting many people with a joke, bringing a smile or laugh. Many students were blessed to benefit from his lectures that he taught at Western Carolina University before he retired.
Haywood Baptist Men Association - Haywood County
The Haywood Baptist Men build handicap ramps weekly for the elderly and handicapped. It’s not unusual to have anywhere from 9-21 volunteers working a job. This group has been volunteering for almost 20 years.
Randolph Hospital Volunteer Mentor Team - Randolph County
This 10-person mentor team volunteers in nine departments of the Randolph Hospital. This year, Volunteer Services was faced with the challenge of electronic training for all active members and ten volunteers were chosen to serve as mentors for the training procedure. This group went above and beyond and many stayed past their regular shift to teach a training class. Several volunteers rearranged their personal schedule to meet with volunteers one-on-one when they needed special care. These 10 people were always available for anything they were asked to do and more.