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Each of their stories started with an idea or an interest, and from there they started changing lives.
This week, the Beacon launches “Trailblazers,” a feature that takes a closer look at some of the people who are changing lives in Brunswick County and beyond.
Trailblazers replaces “Most Interesting People,” and while it kicks off this week with 10 profiles, it is scheduled to run all year long with a new Trailblazer featured once a month in Tidelines.
Trailblazers are everyday citizens who’ve committed themselves to achieving dreams and making this world a better place for others.
From helping deserving veterans receive benefits they’re entitled to, to a judge who is changing lives of some drug and alcohol offenders, those featured in Trailblazers are inspirations to many. They balance jobs, schools and families while doing good things for others.
Among this year’s Trailblazers is Anita Hartsell, the senior veterans services officer in the Brunswick County Veterans Services Department. With a growing base of veterans in this community, the need for her talents and patience for veterans’ claims and services may have never been greater.
You’ve probably heard a lot about the annexation controversies surrounding St. James and Shallotte Point. The Trailblazers featured in this week’s annexation story are homeowners and business owners who say they’ve had enough. In addition to fighting against forced annexation locally, they’re also working to change state laws.
Bob Grimes, the principal at North Brunswick High School, was selected as a Trailblazer because of the innovative approach he is taking to improve the quality of education for students in Brunswick County.
Janie Withers, another Trailblazer, was selected because she’s making efforts to turn her fundraising skills into good things for the county’s neglected and abandoned animals.
Michael Leonard is representative of the many Brunswick County men and women who make a difference in our community—and put their lives on the line—as an area firefighter.
Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis was selected because she and those who work with her are changing people’s lives through the county’s drug treatment court and making a name for Brunswick County as an innovator in the justice system.
Robert Lawson may be young, but his dreams are big. The West Brunswick High School student is encouraging young people to follow their dreams and is chasing after his as a young musician who has made a name for himself on MySpace Music.
You may have seen Clarice Holden at countless area fundraisers and fashion shows, but did you know she also is part of a charity that is bringing fresh water to people across the world?
With an international flair, Mari-Lou Wong Chong was one of the driving forces behind this year’s Brunswick County Intercultural Festival. She also has a passion for community service and volunteering, especially when it comes to supporting the Brunswick County Literacy Council.
And finally, Sister Maria Theresa is one of many volunteers making a difference by helping the county’s immigrant population in Brunswick County.
We thank these Trailblazers for their commitment to this community and, as “10 to Watch in 2010,” we look forward to seeing what the future has in store.