11/08/07 — Edgertons honored for Habitat work

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Edgertons honored for Habitat work

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on November 8, 2007 1:46 PM

Bill and Jan Edgerton were named recipients of the 2007 Medallion Award at a recognition ceremony Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church.

It was one of only 20 such awards given to North Carolina volunteers this year. The Edgertons will be recognized again at a reception in early spring.

The medallion award is a program of the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism from the Office of the Governor.

The Edgertons also received one of four 2007 North Carolina Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service in Wayne County during the ceremony.

Other recipients included Helping Hands United Mission Inc., Michelle Rogers and Elder Mike C. Smith.

The Edgertons work with Habitat for Humanity. In 2001 they saw the need for affordable housing in Wayne County and started the local Habitat organization.

Due to their efforts, 23 families now own homes and five other families will be added to that list in the near future.

According to their nomination form, the couple "have now retired, reducing their 40-hour work week (all volunteer) to only 20 hours a week. While Bill and Jan serve as the perfect examples of volunteerism, the true testimony is shown by the hundreds of volunteers they recruit, encouraging them to feel the same sense of pride of self-actualization by doing for their fellow man."

The Edgertons are also involved with Optimist International/Optimist of Goldsboro, Wayne County Homebuilder Association and First Baptist Church, often serving in key leadership roles.

Helping Hands volunteers received a plaque for their service to the community. It's a nonprofit volunteer mission feeds the hungry, clothes those in need and offers free counseling to those in trouble.

The mission connects high school students with behavior problems to community service. The organization consists of five ministers, three registered nurses, a nutritional consultant and several educators.

Also an award winner, Ms. Rogers was recognized for taking a key leadership role in community outreach with the Student Government Association at Wayne Community College. She helps raise awareness about substance abuse issues and organizes activities for developmentally disabled children.

Her nomination form stated that she is "both fearless and fun in her approach and others find her conviction contagious."

Smith was recognized for helping mentally-challenged people. He has volunteered in this capacity for four years. His nomination form stated that his service "is evidenced by the adolescent patients' desire to redirect negative behaviors into positive actions on the wards of Cherry Hospital."

The speaker for the event was Emily Peacock, last year's medallion award winner. She has volunteered with Guardian ad Litem for the past 10 years.

She talked about what makes someone say yes to volunteering.

"What is in us that makes us do this is usually so far within us that we can't quite recognize it," she said. "It's a spark that makes us say yes to making life a little better around us.

"Sometime volunteers see a need, jump right in, fix it and go on. Sometimes they serve a cause for a long time."

Mrs. Peacock noted that everyone has different talents. "Each of us has a talent we can share," she said.

She said her interest is helping children and families. "Why? I don't know. As a child I thought I'd be a missionary. But through being in the field of social work, families and children became my interest."

She said she hoped her story and the stories of other volunteers would inspire other to put themselves on the line for some cause.

Barbara Stiles, director of Volunteer Wayne/RSVP, said that last year volunteers gave 42,846 volunteer hours valued at $900,000.