Volunteers awarded at ceremony

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

Five awards have been bestowed community volunteers who put in long hours and lots of heart to make Brunswick County a better place.


Recognition came at a volunteer fair and ceremony orchestrated by the Volunteer Center of Brunswick County last Wednesday, April 17, at Brunswick Community College.

“You folks do valuable things—you really do,” Brunswick County Commissioner Marty Cooke said at the start of the ceremony honoring five recipients of the North Carolina Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service.

“When you make a difference in somebody’s life, that’s what it’s all about,” he added.

The reality is government can only do so much, Cooke said.

With fewer people volunteering these days, “you guys really are the heroes,” he said. “You will make this place better and inspire people to greatness.”

Volunteer center director Jayne Mathews said the ceremony is a great tradition, with people nominated in every county. She also took time to remember the tragic bombing in Boston just two days prior to Wednesday’s ceremony.

Mathews said she has been in Brunswick County for 15 years.

“Thirty years ago, I used to be at the finish line of the Boston Marathon handing out fliers,” she said. “They will get over this.”

The 2013 recipients for this year’s N.C. Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service are as follows.


Mari-Lou Wong Chong

Mari-Lou Wong Chong was recognized for her volunteer work with several agencies, including serving as a board member, past board chair and fill-in between directors for the Brunswick County Literacy Council. She is a co-founder of the Brunswick County Toastmasters Club and a founding and organizing director of the Brunswick County Intercultural Festival held every year at Brunswick Community College. She is also a board member of Brunswick Arts Council.


Mary Jackson

Mary Jackson is a volunteer at Cedar Grove Middle School, where she was recognized for volunteering “every day, five days a week for six-and-a-half hours.” She works in every area at the school, including the library, media and helping teachers. She was cited for being loyal, trustworthy and “someone who is on the job every day.”


Kimberly Pryor

Kimberly Pryor is a volunteer at Belville Elementary School under Communities In Schools’ after-school mentors program. She volunteers from two to three-and-a-half hours three days a week. She helps students with their daily homework assignments to make sure they are prepared for school the next day and that they fully understand their schoolwork.



WAVES4K.I.D.S. is an all-volunteer organization with Kay Wolf serving as board chairman. It supports and aids foster children in Brunswick County and their families. Its team of volunteers provides school supplies, clothing, baby supplies, bikes, prom dresses and anything else a student needs to participate in school and normal school activities. Volunteers have a holiday program every year for foster children to shop for their parents. They also operate two “Little Tykes” closets at the Department of Social Services in Bolivia.


The Compassionate Closet

The Compassionate Closet is a project of Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center volunteers and staff.  It provides clothing, shoes and underwear as well as quilts and teddy bears to hospital patients. It gives patients something to wear home from the hospital, especially if they came in through the emergency room. This is a grassroots project started by volunteers and hospital staff and includes local merchants and thrift shops. It also doesn’t get lots of attention, but makes a difference in a hospital stay for many, Mathews noted. Volunteer Elaine Eggers accepted the award for the group.


WBHS student Amanda Capps

West Brunswick High School student Amanda Capps received a special U.S. presidential award for raising $1,200 for WAVES4K.I.D.S. from tickets sold for a musical production she had at the school.

According to Mathews, Capps got the idea because every year WAVES has an evening event where book bags and back-to-school packets are put together for foster children. Capps assisted with the event last August.

“What a great cause it was,” Mathews said.


Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.