16 Hometown Heroes Honored in 5th annual Great Friend to Families Award
Sponsored by the Orthodontists and Pediatric Dentists Drs. Mayhew, Scheffler, Conn and Hardaway, The 5th annual Great Friend to Families award recognizes sustained contributions by an individual to the well-being of young children and their families in the High Country area and presents awards in two categories: Helping Hands and Helping Hearts. Helping Hands awards celebrates professionals who over the course of their careers have shown extraordinary dedication to improving the lives of children and families and Helping Hearts awards recognizes individuals who have touched the lives of children and families through generous philanthropy and/or outstanding volunteerism.
The 2013 Helping Hands award winners are Jim Atkinson of the Watauga County Department of Social Services; Renee Boughman of FARM Cafe; Lucy Hoffman of Avery Amigos and WAMY Community Action;
Edith Mubanda, Laurie Cimino, and Eloisa Hernandez-Ruiz of the Watauga County Health Dept. WIC Program; Kelly Sheets Snider of Two Rivers Community School; Nancee Pond of the teen parent GED program; and Lillian Worley of the Appalachian District Health Department dental office.
The 2013 Helping Hearts are volunteers who give generously of their time and treasure to the organizations listed after their names: Amber Bateman (Quiet Givers), Leigh Girard (Temple of the High Country Sisterhood, Children’s Council of Watauga County), Evelyn Shook Johnson (Kiwanis, Watauga County Library, Watauga Baptist Church), Roachel Laney (Special Olympics, Victory Junction Gang Camp, Santa’s Toy Box and the Red Cross), Mary Mast (Watauga County Schools), Amber Mellon (Girl Scouts, Watauga County Schools, The Children’s Playhouse) and Madison Welch (Hunger Coalition, Who Needs a Change?, Humane Society). Evelyn Shook Johnson's award is being given posthumously.
A group of local leaders (Mary Hall of Bandana’s, Roseane Peacock, and last year’s overall winner Trish Lanier) will choose from the Helping Hands and Helping Hearts awards one overall winner who will be further honored as the 2013 Great Friend to Families award-winner. This overall award winner, who will be announced at the luncheon, will receive a framed original photograph by Megan Long and $500 to donate to the High Country nonprofit of their choice.
The luncheon will feature music by local young fiddler Liam Purcell, aged 10, and a presentation, "Creating Spaces for Family," by educator, parent, former Playhouse president, and a children's rights activist William Purcell.
The luncheon will be from noon to 2:30 pm on Saturday March 2nd at the High Country Home Builders’ Plaza (755 NC Hwy. 105 By-Pass in Boone).Tickets are $20 per person, of which $15 is tax-deductible. Tickets may be purchased no later than Wednesday, February 27th either online or in person or over the phone at The Children’s Playhouse (828-263-0011).
The event is sponsored by Orthodontists and Pediatric Dentists Drs. Mayhew, Scheffler, Conn and Hardaway; Earth Fare; Galileo’s, an anonymous donor, Mast General Store, FARM Cafe, and the Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Children’s Playhouse, a nonprofit children’s museum in Boone.
This is the 5th year of the Great Friend to Families Award. Previous over all winners were Judith Winecoff (2009), Pat Morgan (2010), Dick and Joan Hearn (2011), and Trish Lanier (2012).
About the 2012 Great Friend to Families Award
The winner of the 2012 award was Trish Lanier of the Appalachian Regional Health Department. The Helping Hands award winners are Jim Atkinson, Nancy Blair, Barbara Case, Heather Jordan, Crystal Kelly, Trish Lanier, Margaret Mullins, Gay Lynn Williams, Mary Willis, and Joan Zimmerman.
The Helping Hearts are Susan Bolash, Christopher Clark, Kathleen Collins, Rebekah Cummings, Beth Darnell, Carolyn Garland, Betty Green, Jack and Karen James, Jo Anne Jenkins, Diandra (Lynn) Patterson, Bob and Wimmy Powell, Kim Roberts, and Catherine Wilkinson.
About the 2011 Great Friend to Families Award
The joint winners of the 2011 award were Dick and Joan Hearn, community volunteers who have touched a wide variety High Country nonprofits ranging from the Watauga County Public Library "Reading and Rolling" program, to the High Country United Way, to the Guardian Ad Litem, and many more. The distinguished nominees were Caroline Bond, Kathy Cottrell, Shirlee Edwards, Eric Henderson, Denise Jones, Blowing Rock CARES (Trish Kohlasch, Linda Laughter, and Liz Tincher), Vicki Krueger, Beth Lawrence, Lee Marshall, Elaine Rothenberg, Lee Ryan, Chad Slagle, Donna Soule, Sherry Street Tobin, and Cheryl Williams.
About 2010 Great Friend to Families Award
The winner of the 2010 award was Pat Morgan, a longtime community volunteer who has read to children in local elementary schools for decades, organized many events benefitting families, and took rural children on trips to Washington D.C. Morgan designated that his award go to children's collection at the Watauga County Public Library. The twenty distinguished nominees in 2010 were Julie Bostick; Kim Carter, Ashley McKinney, and Laureen Vilas; Matthew Crawford; Angie Dolen; Shirlee Gaines Edwards; Susan Jones; Kaaren Hayes; Dick and Joan Hearn; Virginia MacLeod; Pat Morgan; Tammy Nelson; Carrington Pertalion; Denise Presnell; Susan Weinberg; Delores Wilder; Roberta Yates; and Joan Zimmerman.
About the 2009 Great Friend to Families Award
The first winner of the Great Friend to Families award was Watauga County Children's Librarian Judith Winecoff and she designated the $500 prize to go to the Hunger and Health Coalition. A total of sixteen local citizens--Cynthia Brown-Greer, Laurie Cimino, Lindsay Cobb, Doug Galke, Kaaren Hayes, Karen James, Natalie Lewis, Karee Mackey, Todd Nolt, Sherrie Norris, Jane Penley, Denise Presnell, Jan Rienerth, Robin Triplett, Mary Willis, and Judith Winecoff—were nominated for the first ever award presented by the Children’s Playhouse. Click here for an overview of the 2009 nominees.