Each spring, Raleigh’s Parks & Recreation Department celebrates the awesome volunteers that are so important to the success of our parks, community centers and greenways. The awards honor the memory of Fred Fletcher, Sr., who gave 54 years of service to our city’s Parks & Recreation department. This years awards were presented at the Fletcher Opera Theater on May 12th. Below is content from the 2011 awards program. All photos and content courtesy of Raleigh Parks & Recreation.
Outstanding Financial Contributor
The Realtor Foundation of the Triangle
Raleigh Parks and Recreation staff was contacted in Spring 2010 by The Realtor Foundation of the Triangle who expressed an interest in becoming involved in a park project in Raleigh. Staff met with Ray Larcher and other members of the Foundation who were interested in possible involvement in parks and recreation projects. They discussed various opportunities for volunteers and funding including playground projects.
After the initial meeting, Wayne Schindler and Cindy Trumbower were asked to meet again with the Foundation on October 18, 2010. The Foundation expressed interest in making a contribution in 2010 and asked about upcoming projects. Wayne Schindler reviewed the funding opportunities for a new playground at Eastgate Park that would be built in 2011. The board members expressed interest in this project. Although the Foundation had previously supported projects financially, they were more interested in a project that would also engage members.
In December 2010 The Realtor Foundation of the Triangle provided a $13,000 contribution to Raleigh Parks and Recreation to assist with purchasing equipment for the Eastgate playground. They also committed to having members of the Foundation support a Community Build Day in May 2011 for the playground. The additional financial contribution provided upgrades for Eastgate playground including new equipment in the 2-5 year old and 5-12 year old playground areas. The City of Raleigh is so pleased to have the partnership of The Realtor Foundation of the Triangle.
Nominated by: Wayne Schindler, Parks Superintendent
Outstanding Athletic Volunteer
Marlane Klintworth-Keeter has worked with District A Athletics as a volunteer youth coach since 2005. She coaches both basketball and baseball, so for over half of each year, she is volunteering on average three to five hours a week with our youth athletics.
Marlane personifies the ideal volunteer coach. She is as dedicated to the ideas of teamwork and sportsmanship as she is to the fundamentals of the sport. Her players grow as individuals and as a team during the course of each season and win or lose, they come away feeling like winners thanks to Marlane’s efforts. She is one of our most popular coaches, and always receives positive feedback from parent evaluations, as well as several requests from parents for their child to play on one of her teams.
In addition to the time she invests into the teams that she has coached over the years, Marlane expressed concern over the decline of participation by girls in the youth basketball leagues. She is committed to assisting Raleigh Parks and Recreation in trying to extol the benefits of recreational sports to school-age girls in an effort to get more of them to continue to play in recreational leagues as they get older. Marlane has a passion for women’s athletics and works toward increasing opportunities for youth. She has already played a vital role in increasing participation by encouraging families and kids to register and try the game of basketball.
Nominated by: Kira Stewart and Laura Brannon, Recreation Program Supervisor III
Outstanding Greenway Volunteer
Michael Maieli has been a Raleigh resident since 1979. He has assisted the City of Raleigh with maintenance of the Lake Park Greenway Trail since 1980. He started as a volunteer, then as a “Greenway Captain” organized various neighborhood cleanups around the Shelly Lake area. He has continued assisting the Greenway staff with policing the trail and making small repairs. Michael impresses the staff with his hard work and dedication by helping with the maintenance of this section of the greenway. His ongoing efforts help provide a clean and safe trail for patrons.
Staff look forward every spring to Michael’s call to say it is time for his “spring cleaning” on the trail. His volunteerism is essential to the success of the Park’s maintenance program. His willingness to participate in the Adopt-A-Park program provides additional eyes on the trail. Michael is an avid outdoorsman and has hiked, biked or canoed most of the major trails, paths and rivers in the state. He provides a user’s point of view that contributes to trail maintenance so everyone can enjoy the City of Raleigh Greenway System.
Nominated by: Brian Johnson, Greenway Supervisor
Outstanding Adopt-A-Park Volunteer
Bob and Donna Jones
For the past two years, with plans to return for a third season, Bob and Donna Jones have been outstanding participants in the Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden’s Adopt-A-Bed Volunteer Program. Volunteers initially attend an orientation/training/information seminar and adopt one to three rose beds (each containing 18 shrubs). During the peak of the bloom cycles, this is an eight to twelve hour per week dedication of careful, meticulous, attentive labor from May through October. The volunteer must be able to identify bloom stock needing removal, determine where on each stem below each bloom the proper cut needs to be made to remove that bloom, and cut at a precise angle. This is no small task and requires demanding stooping, stretching and sweating.
No strangers to rose culture themselves, Bob and Donna quickly adapted to the specific needs of a municipal garden. They maintain the rose shrubs expertly and communicate responsibly regarding the vicissitudes of the plants under their care. Soon after initially adopting six beds, the Jones’ began to expand their dedication, pitching in wherever shrubs were found in need of attention. The Jones’ invariably leave the rose beds well groomed and orderly, insuring a bounty of rich color for the coming days. The bloom season comes to an end with the November “flat-topping” of the roses, and Bob and Donna also chose to volunteer to join in that task.
Bob and Donna have chosen to combine their passion for roses and dedicated work ethic in service to the City of Raleigh. Their conscientious and unflagging efforts enhance the experience of Rose Garden patrons and are an inspiration to staff coming to work and witnessing their commitment. As often the Rose Garden is referred to as Raleigh’s “best kept secret,” there is no doubt that Bob and Donna Jones are in good measure part of the “best”.
Nominated by: John Bento, Assistant Park Operations Supervisor
Outstanding Senior Adult Program Volunteer
Bernice L. Perry
Mrs. Bernice L. Perry has been a member of the Smiling Age Club at Biltmore Hills Community Center since 2007. She has served as Club President for the last two years. Mrs. Perry has put in countless hours making sure the club is moving in a positive direction. She is also a caring individual who gives of her time to so many people. She transports members to doctor’s appointments and provides meals as needed.
Mrs. Perry taught school for 34 years and was chairman of her grade level for 15 years. During her profession, she was awarded the Teacher of the Year. She has a strong demeanor, knowledge of life events, organizational skills, leadership ability and caring ways. She makes sure that everyone’s opinion is heard. Not only does she put in countless hours at Biltmore Hills Community Center, she puts in volunteer hours throughout the city.
Recently, Mrs. Perry was also involved in the development of two new playgrounds in Raleigh’s parks including Lane Street Mini Park and Southgate Park. She has also received certificates from the CAC for Outreach and Improvement in the Community. She is definitely one of Raleigh’s outstanding volunteers through all of her efforts in the community.
Nominated by: Kenneth Lyons, Facility and Program Supervisor II
Outstanding Specialized Recreation Volunteer
Dave and Melissa Henry
Dave and Melissa Henry have been volunteers for the Specialized Recreation program/Special Olympics of Wake County. They have been an integral part of the Specialized Recreation program’s success.
Every year, the Specialized Recreation Department/Special Olympics Wake County hosts the Multi-State Swim Meet. Over 200 swimmers compete in this annual event and travel from as far away as Florida and Ohio. Following the 2009 meet, the Henrys eagerly approached staff about ways they could be involved with meet preparation for the 2010 competition.
Dave and Melissa worked tirelessly to secure donations for the 2010 Meet. They contacted numerous vendors, seeking discounts and donations to defray the costs associated with providing lunch to nearly 500 swimmers, coaches and volunteers. Their efforts produced discounts and donations from Chick-Fil-A, Sheetz and local grocery stores to assist with the purchases. The Henrys also worked with Coca Cola to secure a large donation of drinks for the event. The dedicated work of Dave and Melissa Henry resulted in $2,787.50 of in-kind donations for the 15th Annual MultiState Swim Meet, held in March 2010.
They were instrumental in assuring that this event would be a success. Dave and Melissa Henry are truly outstanding individuals and have shown dedication to providing quality opportunities to individuals with special needs.
Nominated by: Stephanie Stancil, Senior Recreation Program Specialist
Outstanding Volunteer Group
Lucy Wyche, Hannah Landi, Mattison Zinner & Maggie Barton
Lucy Wyche, Hannah Landi, Maggie Barton, and Mattison Zinner deserve to be recognized because of their desire to help others in the community. They show a sense of selflessness, which is very rare in young people today. Their efforts came solely from their own hearts and ideas. On December 23, 2010, these four young girls adopted an entire neighborhood of 160 kids for Christmas. The ladies went out of their way to ensure that these children (of their own age and which they had never met) had a reason to celebrate the holidays. But, to actually understand how they made this event happen was nothing short of a Christmas Miracle!
The story begins with Lucy, a bubbly 11 year old girl with a heart of gold. Lucy came up with the idea to start her own giving tree organization that would distribute toys to needy children. She had been involved in angel tree organizations in the past, but felt disconnected since she did not get to see the smiles on the kids’ faces as they received their gifts. Because of this, she started an organization known as S.T.A.R. (Sending Toys Across Raleigh). Lucy sought help from her friends Hannah, Maggie, and Mattison. The girls raised money by selling t-shirts to their friends. Their goal was to sell 30 shirts, which would give them enough money to purchase gifts for 20 kids. The girls had everything they needed, except 20 kids who needed toys. They went to various agencies, but were continuously denied due to their request to deliver the gifts to the children. This is how The Ralph Campbell Center and Apollo Heights neighborhood became fortunate enough to be blessed by the unconditional desire of the four girls to help others in need.
A week prior to the miracle works of four friends, the Apollo Heights Community had a large well known organization donate toys to the community, but unfortunately the generous donation did not provide all of the children in the community holiday cheer. More than 160 children were turned away that day. Later that week a call came in from Lucy’s mother. She explained the dilemma of having toys, but no one to give them to. Rickey Fowler, the Director of Ralph Campbell, in turn explained the issue that they were experiencing. In a matter of minutes, Mrs. Wyche and the young girls walked into the Ralph Campbell Center ready to help. There were 160 names of children that did not receive toys from the previous event, but they had only raised enough funds to provide for 20 kids. Without further thought, the young girls took the list and said “I guess we just have to get everyone something.” Within 24 hours Lucy called Ricky to inform him they were able to get everyone on the list at least two gifts. The following day, December 23, the four young ladies of S.T.A.R brought three trunk loads of gifts the center for the neighborhood kids. What an act of heartfelt kindness from a group of young people!
Nominated by: Rickey Fowler, Facility and Program Supervisor II
Outstanding Volunteer Group
Platinum Status Ryderz Motorcycle Club
Platinum Status Ryderz Motorcycle Club is an all female bike club that consists of mature women with a passion for riding motorcycles and building a better community. They are family oriented and devoted to sisterhood. They were established in October 2009 with the goals of promoting safe riding and community service. Not only do they ride but they are eager to serve. Twelve women from all walks of life are united as one to improve the moral of motorcycling.
These ladies spent countless hours soliciting book bags and school supplies for 300 identified children within the Walnut Terrace Community. They provided them with notebooks, paper, pens and pencils, dictionaries, composition books, crayons and colored pencils, markers, erasers and many more supplies. They separated them according to grade levels and attempted to give each child the basic necessities for beginning the school year. Items that they were not able to get donated, they purchased themselves.
Not only did they purchase school supplies but they also facilitated field games and activities for the entire family. They engaged all ages in this fun-filled day. Door prizes were distributed to game winners and participants.
Three motorcycle clubs began this undertaking, but by the time it was over and word spread, eleven clubs had come forth. It is their intention to hold this community service event every year. Many thanks and much appreciation to Platinum Status Ryderz Motorcycle Club.
Nominated by: Ethel Evans, Facility and Program Supervisor II
Outstanding Park Volunteer
When considering the attributes a great volunteer should have, Pat Daley comes to mind. An ideal volunteer would be enthusiastic, available and willing to perform in a variety of functions. Pat is all of these things and more. Pat’s enthusiasm is always a welcome sight at Mordecai Historic Park. She is always ready to dig in to any job that needs to be done. There is never hesitation when asked to do something, and she does it to the best of her ability with pleasure. She takes to heart the purpose of events and makes sure visitors enjoy every bit of their time at Mordecai.
A busy realtor, nevertheless, Pat is available when we need her. Pat makes it a habit to come on Sunday afternoons knowing that there will only be one staff member to give tours. That extra help is so welcome for the staff on Sundays when it is hard to manage alone. Even during the week, Pat will run in to give a tour in between her own business appointments.
Many times Pat has found news articles or perhaps gone on guided tours during vacation and brought back new ideas to share with staff. Pat and her husband Jim often make volunteering a family event. They show up and say, “Put us where you want us!” No matter how hectic or pressed for time she is, Pat is always cheerful, upbeat and encouraging to those around her. Her love and devotion to Mordecai are apparent in everything she does.
Nominated by: Fran Hunter, Mordecai Volunteer Coordinator
Outstanding Project Volunteer
Allan and Joyce Campbell
Joyce Campbell is an active participant in Pullen Arts Center’s pottery studio program in many ways. For the last three years, she has regularly taken classes, has practiced her skills during open studio time, and has made improvements to our pottery studio program on her own initiative.
Over her years of participation, Joyce has seen needs in the studio and has quietly and efficiently made it her mission to come up with solutions. While Joyce is the person who identifies the need, she works with her husband Allan to design and build the solution; each drawing on their own strengths to be part of the solution. Together they have made and donated pottery throwing tools to Pullen Arts Center, made boards for drying greenware, and have donated time and materials to make the slab roller work better.
In 2010, their initiative and efforts went further above and beyond than normal. Early in 2010, Joyce overheard Pullen Arts Center staff brainstorming about how to solve the problem of sinks overflowing because studio users were not taking clay scraps out of their water buckets before emptying the buckets into the sink. That same week, Joyce began researching the measures that other pottery studios take to prevent this problem, developed an idea for an inexpensive solution, and brought in prototype for testing. After testing the prototype bucket, Joyce and Allan made three more buckets for the sinks. The sinks have not overflowed again since Allan’s and Joyce’s buckets were put in place. The Pullen Arts Center is extremely grateful for the initiative, the talent, and the generosity of Allan and Joyce Campbell.
Nominated by: Eliza Kiser, Recreation Facility and Program Supervisor II
Outstanding Program Volunteer
Susan Stallings has given countless hours of time, effort, energy, creativity and expertise to Mordecai Historic Park. Form many years before the City of Raleigh took over management of the park and in the almost six years since, Susan has been an outstanding member of our volunteer program. She has volunteered at events, raised funds for park projects and been a leader among our volunteers.
Susan’s love of textiles and knowledge of fabric, needlework, stitches, technique and design is extensive. Her love has benefited the park in several ways. As a member of the Stitchers in Time, Susan has worked to complete the pew cushions in St. Marks Chapel. This is no small feat. Each cushion is hand made to fit in an exact position on a specific pew. Hours of labor, sometime stretching over several years, have gone into each cushion to create elaborate designs depicting North Carolina flora and fauna. Susan has also lent her expertise to the park as a consultant on our collection of textiles, helping to identify significant pieces in the collection. When Susan is not analyzing stitches, you may find her volunteering at one of Mordecai’s special events. In addition to consulting and volunteering at events, she also contributed her knowledge to a postcard of Ellen Mordecai’s sampler that is for sale in the Mordecai gift shop.
In 2010, after working on the annual fundraiser for several years, Susan managed the Lawn and Garden sale. This sale, put on by Mordecai volunteers, raises funds for projects at the park. Susan rallied the volunteers to take donations, price items and man tents the day of the sale. She was able to raise more than $1,500 for the park.
Nominated by: Troy Burton, Mordecai Site Manager
Outstanding Teen Volunteer
Mary Killela is currently a senior at Panther Creek High School and has been an active participant in the Raleigh Youth Council (RYC) for the past four years. During this time she has performed over 400 hours of community service, participated with leadership programs, recreational events, fundraisers, State Youth Conferences and Youth Legislative Assembly. Mary has also shown exceptional attendance and involvement at the RYC bimonthly meetings.
Mary has held leadership positions on the Executive Board with RYC, including Secretary her sophomore and junior year, and Chair of RYC this year. She has a commitment to improve the community, as well as volunteer her advice, friendship, and leadership skills to whoever needs them. Being an honor roll student, taking college courses and actively participating in her high school band, Mary has still found time to volunteer for the following events with Raleigh Parks and Recreation: Run for the Oaks, Specialized Recreation Halloween and Valentines Dance, Buddy Walk, Santa’s Elves Workshop, Domino Day and KidsFest. Mary has also organized and assisted with donating canned goods for the RYC food drive and small toys to drop off at WakeMed for children at Christmas. Mary continues to find the time and energy to volunteer in order to make the Teen Program better.
Throughout her high school career, Mary has been dedicated to Raleigh Youth Council and continues to recruit members. She is an outstanding young woman and has not only given her time to Raleigh Parks and Recreation, but to the entire community. She has been an asset to the Teen Program and to the community at large!
Nominated by: Daniel Price, Teen Program Manager
Award of Excellence
Vernis Wright has coached youth football with Raleigh Parks and Recreation since 1998. His knowledge of the game and ability to work with children is exceptional. He teaches youth both the fundamentals of football and of life. Vernis cares about the participants both on and off the field and gives 100% towards the kid’s knowledge of the sport and personal welfare. His players learn respect, responsibility and the importance of excelling in academics. On several occasions he has gone beyond the duty that is required of a coach and a volunteer. Coach Wright has donated personal funds towards registrations, snacks, banquets, trophies and other needed equipment for participants over the years.
Several parents bring their kids to Coach Wright for him to talk to and mentor if they step out of line at home or school. Coach Wright has always been an individual who lends a helping hand to anyone in need. Being a parent, foster parent, pastor and student at Shaw Divinity School, he still is able to find the time to make sure that the youth on his team feel important and know that he is there for them. Vernis is an outstanding volunteer, motivator and role model. Raleigh Parks and Recreation and Lions Park are proud to have Coach Wright as an outstanding volunteer.
Nominated by: Christie Jones, Recreation Facility and Program Supervisor III