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Coastal Hometown Heroes Honored by AARP North Carolina

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Creative Community Partnership Award Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center's Stroke Team

WILMINGTON – AARP in Coastal North Carolina recently honored people and organizations up and down the coast who have been working to improve our hometowns and rural communities, fight fraud, help veterans or support family caregivers at its annual “Inspiration Awards.” This year’s winners were nominated by the public for these special awards.

AARP Associate State Director for Coastal North Carolina Rosalie Calarco said, “So many of our friends and neighbors are making a huge impact when it comes to helping us get the most out of life as we age. Whether on their own, or collaborating with partners like AARP, we recognized those who are making a meaningful difference in people’s lives."

Patt Noday of WECT-TV and Cheril Lewis of WHQR Radio were the special master and mistress of ceremonies who gave special thanks and appreciation for the exemplary work the winners and nominees are doing throughout the Region.

The 2022 AARP Inspiration Award Winners are:

Community Leadership Award:  Sandy Pace, Director, Virginia S. Tillett Community Center, Dare County, NC
For developing creative and innovative ways to enhance the lives of seniors through programs, classes, monthly newsletters, trips, events and activities, as well as being is an invaluable resource in assisting others in navigating Medicare/Medicaid.

Community Service Leader Award:  Kelly Cahill, Lower Cape Fear LifeCare
For unparalleled clinical and educational leadership to Lower Cape Fear LifeCare. Most significantly she was recognized for her leadership on building and operating the Hospice Care Center (HCC), the area’s first in-patient hospice facility.

Intergenerational Education Trailblazer Award:  Alice Keene, Special Projects Coordinator at Pitt County, NC Government
For her development of older adult wellness and health initiatives.  Keene created the first year-round programs for exceptional children and adults for the Greenville Recreation and Parks Department She also helped establish the Greenville-Pitt County Special Olympics Program and the Pitt County Community Schools and Recreation Program.

Leadership Award: Doug Kim Bai, BSW, Elderhaus, Inc.          
For establishing the “Volunteer Hearts Program “at Elderhaus. In addition, he volunteers with various community organizations including GSN Grandparents Support Network, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, the Alzheimer’s Association, UNCW, CFCC, and AARP.

Livable Communities Award:  Dr. Anne P. Glass
For her insightful research, creative and thoughtful initiatives to impact health by creating and fall prevention education as well as a“Matter of Balance” clinic held at the UNCW campus. As a gerontologist and lead researcher in the field of elder cohousing and other innovative senior housing options, Dr. Glass has represented AARP North Carolina at national  conferences and had a positive influence on the development of the New Hanover County Master Aging Plan.

Social Impact Award: Scott Whisnant, NHR (Novant) Director of Community Engagement
He was the Founding Chairman of Cape Fear HealthNet providing care for the uninsured; organized and led the SOAR program, securing disability benefits for close to 1,000 homeless or near-homeless clients; created the homeless respite program, Hope Recuperative Care; Led an emergency clinic/hospital at Codington Elementary School in the wake of Hurricane Florence; and championed bills in the NC Legislature that exempted public hospitals from public bidding laws and funded the Community Paramedicine program.

Social Impact Award: Veronica Carter, Town of Leland, NC
For embracing community service on the Town Council and in her daily life as a Leland resident including Hurricane Florence recovery efforts and her work on transportation, housing and environmental improvements. She was also instrumental in Leland’s participation in the AARP Age-Friendly Network as the town plans improvements to benefit people of all ages.

Social Impact Award: Carole LeBlanc, AARP NC Coastal Region Volunteer
For her presentations to help family caregivers and fraud prevention and for overseeing 25+ food bank volunteers packing food for older adults and others in need. She also volunteers with the YWCA with special events for the Grandparents Support Network, the Cameron Art Museum and the Catholic Charities.

Veterans Exemplary Service Awards, Honor Flights of the Cape Fear
Founder, President and Flight Leader Ruth Ravitz Smith accepted on behalf of Honor Flight of the Cape Fear. A local hub of the national Honor Flight Network, Honor Flight of the Cape Fear Area provides an all-expenses paid trip to the military memorials and monuments in Washington, DC. for Veterans who served prior to 1975, or who suffer from a life-limiting illness.

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