03/15/11 — Local volunteer has a chance to raise $15,000

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Local volunteer has a chance to raise $15,000

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 15, 2011 1:46 PM

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Rick Sumner, vice president of the Boys & Girls Club board, along with club members, from left, Jasmiyne Murray, Jamillyon Waters, Lando Phillips, Naziyah Daniels, Darius Oates and April Springs are seen at the club in Goldsboro. Sumner is one of the Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame semi-finalists.

Rick Sumner might as well start wearing those rabbit ears he was given by the Boys & Girls Club. He's already earned the reputation there of being the resident Energizer Bunny.

Sumner, president of Wooten Development Co., was recently named one of 100 nationwide semifinalists for the Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame, which puts him in the running to earn up to $15,000 for the local club.

Jo Heidenreich, development director for the Boys & Girls Club, nominated Sumner for the honor.

It was a natural fit, she said.

"He's like the Energizer Bunny -- he just goes and goes and goes," she said Monday of the vice president of the Boys & Girls Club board. "When you talk about volunteers, there's a certain percentage that actually work and others that just fill a seat. Rick is one of those who works."

Sumner is also in charge of resources development for the club and in recent years has spearheaded two of its biggest fundraisers -- the Pig in the Park barbecue event and suggesting the name of a former resident and club member, Dave Odom, who would lead a major renovation effort at the Royall Avenue site.

"He has just helped raise so much money for us, plus the annual giving campaign," Ms. Heidenreich said, estimating Sumner's efforts brought in around $165,000 in less than nine months and another $58,000 for the annual giving campaign.

"He's very busy. He's got a positive attitude, and he works very hard. He's just a super good person, and he cares so much."

And his efforts go beyond the Boys & Girls Club, she added. He and wife, Susie, have two sons, Thomas, 8, and Trotter, 4. He coaches his oldest son's soccer team and is active with such organizations as Goldsboro Travel and Tourism, Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, Wayne Community College, the Seymour Johnson AFB air show, St. Mary School and his church.

The 2011 Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame competition "celebrates those who make a positive impact on the world with their determination, boundless energy and never-quit spirit," according to the Website.

The current 100 semifinalists, five from North Carolina, will be narrowed down to 10 finalists with the public's help.

Visit www.energizer keepgoinghalloffame.com or the Facebook page for "Energizer Bunny" between March 17 and 25 to vote.

The top 10 finalists will be announced April 4, with votes for the winner cast between April 4 and May 13.

In addition to the honor of being recognized for community service, money for charity is also up for grabs. The top 10 finalists will receive $1,000 each for the cause of their choice, with the ultimate winner eligible for up to $15,000.

"It's a creative campaign," Sumner said. "It would be really cool -- not really for me but it would be good exposure for the Boys & Girls Club."

While he had to sign an affidavit agreeing to participate, he admits it still came as a surprise to find his name on the national list.

"But if we could drum up some publicity (for the club) that would be great," he said. "Here's an opportunity to get $15,000 for the Boys & Girls Club. I would be willing to donate the entire amount to them."

His take-charge attitude and dependability have already contributed much to the club, said Ms. Heidenreich, oftentimes with a seemingly effortless approach.

"His random 'what if' thoughts become ideas that become possibilities and small goals," she wrote in her nomination. "Then he recruits the right resources that cause the small goals to bloom, blossom and grow into real events that energize and bring multiple organizations together for the betterment of the entire community."

He is even willing to don a pair of bunny ears if it'll garner him a few votes for the cause.

Being a good sport isn't so hard when it ultimately benefits the community, or draws attention to other efforts in the process, says the man who always has an eye toward that.

"(This is) really good timing -- Pig in the Park is coming up April 9 at Waynesborough Village," he said. "And also in the midst of March Madness. We may tie it in -- you may not win your brackets but if you keep on this, you might get a win for the Boys & Girls Club."