Four earn statewide accolades

Published 3:04 pm Thursday, December 10, 2009

WINDSOR – Four Bertie County citizens were honored by the state of North Carolina Monday morning.

Russ Russell, Billy Smithwick, Jack Henn and corporate citizen Bertie Memorial Hospital were given the Governor’s Volunteerism Award by the Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service during the Bertie County Commissioners meeting.

The awards were presented by Nancy Joyner, who leads the local effort in Bertie County on behalf of the commission.

Russell was recognized for his years of service to the town of Windsor and Bertie County. His volunteer work has included years of working as an ambassador for the county and work with the Windsor-Bertie County Chamber of Commerce.

Smithwick, who serves as Windsor Fire Chief, was honored for his dedicated service to the volunteer fire departments in Bertie County. He has worked with fundraisers for many departments in the county as well as a lead role in the Chicken on the Cashie fundraiser.

Henn is the Chaplain at the Bryan Center in Windsor and has spent countless hours serving the residents of that facility. He also has worked diligently with a food bank in the Windsor community.

Bertie Memorial Hospital was recognized for its efforts with community projects, particularly those that benefit the local schools. Jeff Sackrison, president of the hospital, was on hand to accept the award on behalf of BMH.

The Commission recognizes the work of all North Carolinians in volunteering and each year allows up to five nominations from each county for the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award.

North Carolinians have always shown their concern and compassion for their neighbors by volunteering in local communities across the state. This proud tradition of volunteerism and community service was first recognized by the Office of the Governor in 1979.

The awards honor the true spirit of volunteerism by recognizing individuals, groups and businesses that make a significant contribution to their community through volunteer service. Any person, group, or business from the public, non-profit and private sector may be nominated for an award.

Joyner encouraged all organizations to track volunteer hours to allow more Bertie County citizens to be recognized for their work. The next round of awards will be presented next year. Deadlines for nomination will be announced at a later time.

Bertie County Commission Chairman Norman M. Cherry offered congratulations to the recipients on behalf of the board.

“Congratulations on this recognition that each of you deserve,” Cherry said. “We’re proud of the spirit of volunteerism in Bertie County and the work you have given to our citizens.”

Each Bertie County Commissioner took time to personally congratulate the award winners.