Community Foundation Honors Pair
The Moore County Community Foundation honored two local people with the Man and Woman of the Year Awards, presented at the fifth annual awards dinner Thursday, Oct. 23, at the Country Club of North Carolina.
This year's honorees were Peggy Kirk
Bell and Jean Souweine. Special guests among the 200 people who attended the dinner were past winners of the Man and Woman of the Year award, including Joyce Franke (2004), Bill Smith (2005), Patty Bonsal (2006) and Jimmy Garner (2007).
Peggy Kirk Bell, the "Woman of Year," is an extremely well-known and admired figure in the golf world both as a professional player and a teacher. Her son-in-law, Pat McGowan, praised her as having "most perfect grip... in women's golf" in his speech honoring her at the awards dinner.
She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions in the golf industry and cites the USGA's Bobby Jones Award, the highest honor given by the USGA, as her personal favorite. Bell, who moved to Southern Pines in 1953 along with Warren "Bullet" Bell, her late husband, has since become an active participant in the growth and enrichment of the Sandhills community.
She has given her time and involvement to United Way, Sandhills/Moore Coalition of Human Care, Sandhills Community College, The O'Neal School, the American Cancer Society, and Habitat for Humanity, among others. Ted Oelfke, department chairman and professor at the Sandhills Community College Hospitality and Culinary Arts Department, speaking in honor of Bell at the awards dinner, related how she made the kitchen facilities at Pine Needles available to culinary arts students before the department had its own facility. She then gave a significant contribution to help equip the kitchen when Sandhills Community College built its Culinary Arts Center.
The "Man of the Year," Jean Souweine, was born in Belgium and came to the U.S. in 1951 to attend UNC- Chapel Hill, where he met his future wife, Mary Jane. They married after graduation, at which point Souweine returned to Belgium for Army duty. Souweine returned to the U.S. a couple of years later and settled in High Point where he embarked on a successful business career. The couple retired to Pinehurst in 1987.
Dr. John Ellis, speaking in tribute to Souweine, referred to Souweine's involvement with many projects at the FirstHealth Foundation, Moore Regional Hospital, and Hospice.
Souweine's four daughters also spoke of their father's many outstanding attributes and praised his generosity, saying, "Giving to others brings him so much joy. It was what really matters to him whether it was taking care of our mom, volunteering at the Hospice foundation, or just lending an ear to a friend or family that needed support."
In addition, three of Souweine's seven granddaughters addressed the guests at the dinner, thanking him for being "a steadfast symbol of honor, respect, courage, dignity and class."
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