02/25/05 — Taylor receives Mount Olive Distinguished Service Award

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Taylor receives Mount Olive Distinguished Service Award

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 25, 2005 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Ernie Taylor became the 53rd recipient of the Mount Olive Jaycees' Distinguished Service Award Thursday night at the Southern Wayne Country Club.

The award isn't the first in Taylor's family. His father, Samuel E. Taylor, was named the recipient in 1969.

Ernie Taylor, 28, was chosen as Jaycee of the year two years ago and was the group's outstanding farmer a year earlier. A graduate of Mount Olive College, he oversees his family's trucking business, Taylor Trucking Co., and its contract turkey farm.

Samuel E. Taylor and Ernie Taylor

News-Argus/Bonnie Edwards

Ernie Taylor, right, the 2004 Distinguished Service Award recipient, is shown with his father, Samuel E. Taylor. His father was the 1969 recipient of the award.

Taylor was described by those who nominated him as "a quiet thinker with a great deal of common sense and diplomacy."

He "values his family and community and balances both with the dignity and prestige of someone twice his age," said one nomination letter.

Taylor is the first to arrive at Jaycee meetings and the last to leave, said a member.

Jean Ackiss was named the Boss of the Year by the Mount Olive Rotary Club. She is director of church support for Mount Olive College and was described by club members as "hardworking, caring, dedicated and loyal," as well as "a good Christian woman with heart-felt love and concern for others." A co-worker described her as "the Mother Teresa of Mount Olive College."

Ms. Ackiss has worked at the college since 1965. She travels extensively, helping raising money.

Kimberly Canuette received the Outstanding Youth Award from the Southern Wayne Business and Professional Women's Club.

Ms. Canuette attends North Duplin High School, where she is a varsity cheerleader and a member of the track team. She volunteers at the Neuseway Planetarium in Kinston and tutors elementary school students in math. She plans to attend N.C. State University next year and major in engineering.

Mount Olive Firefighter Amanda Ballree received the Exchange Club's Outstanding Public Servant Award. One nominator described her as a "go-getter," who "truly cares about people." She is a criminal justice major at Mount Olive College. She joined the fire department in August 2003 and became the first woman to hold an office with the department. She was among the top two or three members of the department last year in number of calls answered, in-service training hours and individual training hours.

Delores Kennedy received the Lion's Club's Senior Citizen Award. Her nominator said Mount Olive has benefited greatly since Ms. Kennedy returned from New York to live in her native Mount Olive. She has been named the Mount Olive Chamber of Commerce's Volunteer of the Year.

Amanda Warren, who was named the chamber's Outstanding Young Educator, is a science teacher at Southern Wayne High School. She is a graduate of Meredith College and has been at Southern Wayne six years. Her nominator said she has proven herself to be a teacher of the highest standards. She was described as a hard-working and dedicated teacher, always striving to keep up with changes in education.

Reggie Strickland, a seventh-generation farmer, received the Kiwanis Club's Outstanding Young Farmer Award. He has expanded his family farm, and the person who nominated him for the award said that he continually looks for ways to improve his farm. Strickland is evaluating the possibility of growing peanuts and supplying soybeans to a new biodiesel plant. He was described as an experimenter, whom farm suppliers often look to for expertise in trying new methods and equipment.