Volunteer of the Year

Published 10:52 am Friday, May 25, 2012

GATESVILLE – Bonnie Alford has spent nearly 20 years giving something back to Gates County.

Earlier this month that role was reversed.

Alford was selected as the 2012 Governor’s Volunteer of the Year for Gates County with special distinction as a Medallion winner. Only 20 volunteers receive the Medallion award across the state and they are invited to Raleigh for a ceremony and reception with the Governor.

Bonnie Alford (left) receives her 2012 Governor's Volunteer of the Year award for Gates County from Reba Green-Holley.

According to Reba Green-Holley, Gates County’s Cooperative Extension Director and the local coordinator of the Governor’s Volunteer Award program, Alford has been volunteering about 30 hours a week, eight months a year for 19 years as the head coach for the Hurricane Cheerleaders, who support the Hurricane Little League Football Team.

“Under her guidance hundreds of girls have been provided the opportunity for quality recreation and developing lifelong skills of teamwork, leadership and commitment.  The girls look to Bonnie as another mom that looks out for their well being,” Green-Holley said.

Green-Holley presented Alford with a pin and certificate from Gov. Perdue.  The certificate read: “This is to certify that Bonnie Alford is awarded the highest designation of appreciation for distinguished volunteer service to the people of the State of North Carolina and is to be granted and extended all courtesies provided by this office entitled there unto by this certificate of recognition and appreciation.”

In a letter to Alford, Gov. Perdue stated, “Your commitment to service has helped make our communities a better place and your spirit of giving will be remembered by those you serve. This program was initiated in 1979 and I’m proud to welcome you to the prestigious group of award recipients. The tradition of volunteerism is the heart of community service in our state. Recognizing the needs of others and working to improve those circumstances strengthens us all and your commitment sets an impressive standard for volunteer service. I hope that your success will inspire more volunteers and enthusiasm in other areas of needs. Thank you for all you have given to those around you.”

“It’s a tough job being a volunteer,” Alford said upon accepting the pin and certificate. “I have awarded, at this point, 16 scholarships (to the young cheerleaders). This is the only program in the county that provides these children with scholarships. I think that says something good about the people of this county.”

Alford went on to say that a little more was needed in the way of having a place for these children to practice.

“It’s very hard to find a facility for them to hold practices,” Alford noted.

“I’ve had between 700 and 800 girls, all awesome and outstanding, over the years,” she added. “If I or our coaches have made a difference in just one of those young lives, then we’ve done something.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ve been a great asset to Gates County,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Graham Twine. “We appreciate what you do for our children. It’s people like you that make Gates County great.”

County Manager Toby Chappell asked Alford to get in touch with his office regarding the possibility of making arrangements for the young cheerleaders to use a county facility to practice their routines.

Green-Holley said she, on an annual basis, makes the public aware of the program and solicits local nominations for the honor. She said she attempts to have at least five nominations per year.

“I would encourage our county citizens to take the time to fill out the applications as we have a lot of worthy volunteers that need to be recognized for their work,” Green-Holley said.

To learn more about the Governor’s Volunteer Award program or to nominate a Gates County citizens for this prestigious honor, contact Green-Holley at 357-1400.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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