Mount Olive Now

English Español
May 27, 2024 9:49 am

United Way of Wayne County honors local volunteers

GOLDSBORO — Local volunteers convened at the Paramount Theatre for “A Night Full of Heroes Volunteer Ceremony” recently where they were celebrated and honored by the United Way of Wayne County.

This event, made possible by the Paramount Theatre Foundation leadership and staff, spotlights the invaluable efforts of Wayne County’s local volunteers and their profound impact on the community through volunteerism.  Several volunteer organizations attended and were acknowledged for their commitment to Wayne County during the ceremony.

Goldsboro Mayor Charles Gaylor III, Wayne County Commissioner Chair Chris Gurley, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base 4th Fighter Wing Vice Commander Col. Steven Bofferding, and United Way of Wayne County Executive Director Sherry Archibald took the stage to present certificates and pins to the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award recipients.

The award recipients are Steve and Angi Archambault, Fareiza Blunt, Laura Carbajal, Joshus Geeson, Liza Govan, Steve Heil, Roberto Mendoza, Donna Phillips, Denali Ramirez, and James Tuttle. A local committee selected these 10 individuals based on their volunteer service in 2023. Details of their contributions include:

  • Steve and Angie Archambault, leaders at St. Luke’s UMC, have transformed the Backpack Buddies program, originally serving 12-15 students, into a vital initiative supporting 65 students weekly while also managing church outreach, fundraising efforts, and various community projects, showcasing their unwavering commitment and tireless dedication.
  • Fareiza Blunt manages the Resilience Training Assistance program at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. She has trained more than 100 new volunteers for the program, which teaches young airmen resilience skills to support their peers, and recognized and nominated three new Base Resilience Training Assistants to become Master Resilience Trainers. She volunteered over 200 hours with the sexual assault prevention and response program and domestic violence awareness events, making her an exceptional manager and advocate for helping agencies on base.
  • Laura Carbajal’s impactful community service includes organizing 6,480 volunteer hours for the Reading Buddy and Lunch Buddy program, mentoring 160 at-risk youth, instructing 83 new airmen on resiliency skills, volunteering over 200 hours for a national crisis hotline, and leading Airmen Against Drunk Driving, showcasing exceptional commitment and leadership.
  • Joshua Geeson, an Air Force veteran and committed Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne volunteer, has contributed over 770 hours, including 295 in 2023, building eight homes for low-to-moderate-income families and leaving a lasting mark on our community.
  • Liza Govan serves her community on multiple boards and was honored with the Spirit of Tommy King award from the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation for 2023, highlighting her decade of service.
  • Steve Heil’s compassionate nature extends beyond typical volunteer duties with The Society of St. Vincent de Paul. He tirelessly assists homeless individuals, recently securing housing for a woman in need. He dedicates time to prison ministry and supports various charitable endeavors, all selflessly given at his own expense.
  • Roberto Mendoza embodies the American Red Cross’s values, showcasing unwavering dedication since 1994 by providing immediate assistance, leading disaster teams, mentoring volunteers, serving as a co-lead for the NC duty officer program, and acting as a government liaison, demonstrating invaluable leadership and support.
  • Donna Phillips, a lifelong volunteer recognized with awards for her extensive volunteer work, devotes significant time to various organizations, including the United Way of Wayne County, Goldsboro Rotary Club, and Wayne County Public Library, where she serves as director,. She seamlessly integrates personal giving with her leadership role to spearhead initiatives like the community garden, literacy programs, and collaborative efforts such as the Par Family Learning Center, showcasing an unwavering commitment to serving her community and enriching the lives of others.
  • Denali Ramirez’s strong commitment to service is evident as she actively volunteers to support the local Air Force community, assists elementary schools, and organizes events to enhance the well-being of military personnel and families, demonstrating her dedication to serving her North Carolina community.
  • James Tuttle, an Air Force veteran and dedicated volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne for six years, exemplifies unwavering commitment, contributing over 934 hours, particularly in 2023 with 445 hours, consistently supporting construction efforts and leading homeowner workshops, making a profound impact on Habitat’s mission and the families they serve.

Donna Phillips was selected as Wayne County’s Medallion nominee. She was chosen for the award, which is given to the state’s top 20-25 volunteers, and will be honored at a special ceremony with the other Medallion winners on May 6.

Chuck Waller, a lifelong Wayne County resident and long-term community volunteer, perfectly summed up the true spirit of these individuals in his keynote address for the evening. “Your acts of grace bless others without expectation; your faith empowers you to overcome challenges in serving our community, and the remarkable impact you make sets you apart. Thank you for your selfless commitment,” Waller said.