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Governor’s Volunteer Service Award earned by trio in Hertford County

WINTON – The Governor’s Volunteer Service Award honors the true spirit of volunteerism by recognizing individuals, groups and businesses that make a significant contribution to their community through volunteer service. Hertford County is very fortunate to have volunteers that help make the community better.

This year the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service has presented the 2020 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for Hertford County to Carol Whitt and Everest (therapy dog), Colon Balance, and Bill Arrington. Each recipient received a certificate and pin from the Governor thanking them for their contributions to the county and the state.

Bill Arrington (right) is shown here in a 2018 photo accepting a check from Ernie Evans, representing the North Carolina Baptist Hospital Foundation, to aid the Ahoskie Food Pantry’s Backpack Program. File Photo

Typically, recipients are recognized a meeting of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners. Unfortunately, given the current situation with COVID-19, this had to be done differently this year, but that does not take away the honor that goes with this recognition.

Carol Whitt and Everest were nominated for their service as part of the pet therapy team at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital. Their mission was to bring a little sunshine to those that they had the opportunity to meet and spend time with. This nomination was to honor Everest, who has passed on, but he passed the torch on to his sister Gigi to continue the mission of spreading sunshine to all those that she encounters.

Balance was nominated for his service to the Town of Murfreesboro. He began as a volunteer for the Brady Jefcoat Museum and is currently serving as the Director. Balance heads up the annual Pork-Fest that raises money to fund the maintenance and operation of the Museum. He has also held the Director position for the Murfreesboro Food Bank of the Albemarle distribution for about eight years and volunteers for the Murfreesboro Habitat for Humanity.

Carol Whitt (standing left) accompanies “Everest” as they visit a patient as part of the pet therapy team at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital. Contributed Photo

Arrington was nominated for his service and commitment to the Ahoskie Food Pantry. He works with the Food Pantry as well as the Backpack program and Senior Commodities Box distribution. Arrington searches to find local as well as outside donations to support these programs to keep the Food Pantry’s expenses as low as possible. This may require a road trip to pick items up and he gladly makes it happen. He delivers to emergency calls as well as ensure seniors that are unable to get to the location for pickup are still able to get what they need. Arrington works with a very small group of volunteers to ensure that these programs are available to area citizens. He volunteers so that his mission to ensure that everyone has food to eat is met.

In addition to the Governor’s Volunteer Service, award one nominee was selected to receive The Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service. This award was implemented in 2006 to recognize the top 20-25 volunteers in the state. Medallion recipients are nominated at the county level by the county medallion award review committee. Only one Medallion nomination is permitted per county. A statewide panel reviews and evaluates all these nominations to determine the award recipients. Medallion Award recipients are honored at an annual recognition ceremony.

The medallion is placed around the neck to signify the volunteer’s great service to the community. Unfortunately, this year with COVID-19 things had to be done differently but that does not take away from the honor of receiving this award.

Colon Balance began as a volunteer for the Brady C. Jefcoat Museum in Murfreesboro and is currently serving as the Museum’s Director. Contributed Photo

The Medallion Award winner in Hertford County is Bill Arrington.

“We are very proud of all our nominees and what they do for our county through volunteering and making a difference. Congratulations to all the winners. Thank you for your dedicated time and service to our community and our area citizens,” stated Becky Castello, Administrative Assistant for the Hertford County office of NC Cooperative Extension who heads up the county’s Volunteer Service Award program.

The Governor’s Volunteer Service Award honors people who have shown concern and compassion for their neighbors by making a significant contribution to their community through volunteer service. The award was created in the Office of the Governor in 1979. These awards are given out every year.

If you know someone that is deserving, please take a moment to nominate them. Nominations are usually open in October through mid-January. Call the Hertford County Office of NC Cooperative Extension at 252-358-7822 for details.