04/20/11 — Local volunteers honored for contributions to county

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Local volunteers honored for contributions to county

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on April 20, 2011 1:46 PM

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Rhoda Brown smiles while holding the Governor's Award for Volunteer Service in the individual service category. Ms. Brown was one of several winners honored Tuesday at the 2011 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon.

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Caroline Bone and her mother, Andrea, receive Medallion Awards from Brownie Doss, WAGES director of older adult services, and Marlee Ray, executive director of WAGES.

Caroline Bone didn't know much about Alzheimer's, but she could see how it changed people at the nursing home where she volunteers, especially one older man she would push up and down the halls for hours on end and coax into taking his medicine when no one else could.

The 17-year-old was one of three people receiving the coveted Medallion Award during the 2011 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon Tuesday. The others included Caroline's mother, Andrea, and Donna Archer.

Sponsored by the advisory council of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and the Wayne County Association of Volunteers Administration, the luncheon honored local people for their service to the community.

Caroline and her mother, Andrea, were presented the Medallion Award for the 2011 Governor's Award for Volunteer Service in the family category.

Andrea started delivering Meals on Wheels when Caroline was only 2. Now Caroline volunteers with the program on holidays and during the summer when she's out of school. And she's even recruited some of her friends to help.

Andrea is now the volunteer coordinator for Meals on Wheels -- and still delivers meals, too.

And since a lot of their clients end up in nursing homes, either temporarily or sometimes permanently, Andrea and Caroline are fixtures at many of Wayne County's facilities.

"We spend a whole lot of time at nursing homes," Andrea said. "We've met a lot of other people there who didn't have family or friends coming in. We've got a whole lot of people who depend on us being there most every day. It gets kind of crazy, but we really enjoy it."

Andrea and Caroline were both shocked when they were told they had won the Medallion Award.

"I know there are a lot of deserving people that do a lot of things, too," Andrea said. "We feel honored to have been chosen out of all these folks."

Also receiving the Medallion Award was Ms. Archer, who is director of volunteer services at Wayne Memorial Hospital. Hers was for volunteer management, a new award this year.

"The best part for me is that volunteer management is being recognized, and it's a big job," she said.

Ms. Archer has coordinated the hospital's volunteers for more than eight years. This year that includes the 120 year-round adult volunteers plus the 40 students who will help out during the summer.

She said the best part about her job is that day in and day out, she sees nothing but the good in people, and it restores her faith in mankind every single day.

Receiving the Governor's Award for Volunteer Service in the individual service category was Rhoda Brown. The 68-year-old has been involved with the English as a Second Language program at Wayne Community College for the past 10 years, teaching students three days a week, more than three hours each day.

"It's so rewarding seeing them blossom and learn the language," Ms. Brown said. Her greatest accomplishment has been helping people get their citizenship.

"I was surprised when I won the award," she said. "I wasn't expecting it."

During the luncheon, Dora Mae Bowden and Chris Amon received Lifetime Awards.

Ms. Bowden has volunteered at the Senior Center for 12 years, almost every day.

"I serve meals there and I go in the mornings and make coffee," the 93-year-old said. "I go upstairs and get all the stuff they have to have in the kitchen. I help with anything."

She lives at Waynesborough House and walks the block to and from the Senior Center every time she goes to volunteer.

"I just love to be with the seniors," she said. "It's wonderful. If I wasn't doing this, I'd be sitting home all day just watching TV."

She said she was surprised to get the award.

Ms. Amon has been a volunteer at the hospital for years, helping out in the nursery, rocking the newborns, feeding and diapering them.

She also volunteered in her church's nursery for 40 years before reluctantly retiring. And she helps with games at the Senior Center and assists the seniors who can't see well.

"It does me a lot of good," the 77-year-old said. "I feel better helping folks."

Her motto is: "To be happy, be a volunteer."

Ms. Amon cried when she found out she was getting the award.

Other volunteer awards were presented to 68 local people for their service to Wayne County.

Also during the luncheon, Lou Anne Crumpler, executive director for the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism, read a proclamation from the governor.

"No matter what challenges we face in our state, I can say with confidence I have a beautiful feeling that everything's going our way," she said.

A huge check was presented to county and city officials in the amount that volunteers have saved by volunteering. It was for $1,255,244.