This is our giving issue, and inside you’ll find stories about people in our community doing amazing things — from touching the lives of teens to helping families at risk of homelessness.
We asked readers and the community to nominate people who give selflessly and work behind the scenes to improve the lives of those around them. You responded with more than 80 nominations for the third annual Power of Giving Community Impact Awards presented by PWC. It is clear from the nominations we received that there are a number of people with big hearts and a desire to make a difference where they live. A panel of judges selected three nominations for recognition this year: Vera Bell, retired Sgt. Maj. Ruby Murray, and Wes and Lucy Jones.
Bell is a longtime volunteer with United Way, Connections of Cumberland County, Better Health of Cumberland County, Smith Chapel Free Will Baptist Church and other organizations.
“I like helping, and I like seeing progress,” Bell says. “I like to know that it’s going to be better even though I may not be here to see it. But something that I’ve done or said is going to make it better, make our life in Cumberland County better. Or make someone’s life in Cumberland County better.”
Murray, a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor at South View High School, has logged thousands of hours serving the community, and she inspires her students to share her passion for giving back.
It’s not unusual for her to remind her students of their obligation to their neighbors.
“Your community should always mean something to you. Your community has to have value to you,” she says.
Wes and Lucy Jones have made an impact throughout the community, including work with the Cumberland Community Foundation, Methodist University, Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation, Connections of Cumberland County and the Women’s Giving Circle.
“Our community is a stronger place because of the Jones family,” says Amy Navejas, executive director and CEO of the local United Way.
None of them does what they do for recognition. They volunteer and give of their time and money to make this a better place for others.
Yes, the spirit of giving is alive and well in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.
To our honorees and countless others who are giving back, thank you for what you do.