Arc Awards: Eight Honored at Annual Event
The Arc of Moore County honored eight individuals during its 32nd annual awards night Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Southern Pines Elks Lodge.
Each year The Arc, a nonprofit United Way agency that provides services and support to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, recognizes the achievements and contributions of the people it supports and those who give of their time and talent to enrich their lives. This year's honorees include:
Self-Advocate of the Year
Matthew Bass, a senior at Pinecrest High School, was named the Self-Advocate of the Year. Bass is known as a great all-around student and friend to many at Pinecrest.
He is an avid Special Olympics participant, having competed in track and field, swimming, basketball, bowling and bocci. He is a talented artist, drawing airplanes, one of his favorite subjects, with great detail.
Bass is a loyal fan of Pinecrest sports, attending all home football games, wearing a jersey and sitting faithfully in the end zone.
He is well-known all over campus and, according to his teachers, valiantly attempts all tasks he is given in class.
Volunteer of the Year
Ed Hitchings, of Southern Pines, has been devoted to supporting the Aktion Club of Moore County for the past 15 years.
He was instrumental in starting the Aktion Club in 1994, which was the first club in either North or South Carolina. Aktion is a sponsored program of Kiwanis International for adults with developmental disabilities, and is sponsored by The Arc, Seven Lakes Kiwanis and the Kiwanis Club of the Sandhills. Hitchings, as a member of Kiwanis Club of the Sandhills, has served Aktion Club as an adviser and volunteer every year it has existed.
Hitchings is known for his woodworking talents, and has assisted club members in building dozens of birdhouses when that was the Aktion Club's signature fundraiser; he most recently took the lead in constructing the foundations for a number of butterfly boxes the club will donate to local elementary schools as a service project.
Professional of the Year
Kevin Allen, The Arc's Professional of the Year honoree, is described as a supportive communicator at all levels from state to local, central office, to each school's classroom and to the families of students in the Moore County Schools.
As director of the Exceptional Children's program for Moore County Schools, Allen oversees the services and support to students with special needs and the academically gifted.
He is regarded by his colleagues as a strong advocate for students and a professional who strives to positively influence current legislation that affects exceptional education. He is also a strong supporter of Special Olympics within the school system and focuses his efforts toward increasing and enhancing transitional opportunities for students.
Business of the Year
The Darling House Pub in Pinehurst was honored as Business of the Year. Owners and proprietors Steve and Liz Pattison coordinated their first benefit golf tournament since establishing their restaurant in Pinehurst and designated The Arc as the recipient of the proceeds.
The couple moved from Maryland two years ago and renovated the former Pinehurst Sundry building into an authentic and popular Scottish pub restaurant. Since Steve Pattison had spearheaded many charitable tournaments in Maryland, he wanted to do the same here and give back to his new community. The inaugural Darling House Pub Charitable Golf Tournament to benefit The Arc was held Aug. 15 at Pine Needles Golf Resort.
Member of the Year
The Arc's Member of the Year, Bob Campbell, joined The Arc's Board of Directors in July 2006 and is currently serving his second term as vice president. Campbell is an active board member, attending every meeting and volunteering for special events of The Arc. He is engaged in all activities and actions of the board, and consistently gives solid suggestions for the good of the organization.
Student of the Year
The Arc's Student of the Year has been described as a "miracle child." Noah Jones, son of Christian and Jennifer Jones, of Pinehurst, is a preschooler at Sandhills Children's Center and, according to the many nominations received on Noah's behalf, he has in his young life made remarkable progress and has overcome many obstacles with his health.
Just three years old, Noah has endured many surgeries, and after a third and successful brain surgery earlier this year, he returned to school and is now free from debilitating seizures. According to his teachers, Noah has emerged as a super student who is now able to interact fully with his peers at the Children's Center.
Ellen McFarland, president of The Arc of Moore County, presented her President's Award to the McKenzie Brothers Band.
Robbie and Steve McKenzie have supported The Arc with their annual Elsiepaloosa concert event.
The Arc and other worthy causes have benefited from this all-day music festival at the home of Robbie and Liz McKenzie in Carthage each October for the past several years.
"We have held Elsiepaloosa for the past five years in honor and memory of our late mother, Delores 'Elsie' McKenzie," Robbie McKenzie says. "She was a wonderful and giving person with her family as well as anyone she met. After her passing the family thought it would be a wonderful way to remember her by holding a musical event that would bring families and friends together for a day of music and fun as well as do something good for the community."
In the past five years the benefit earned more than $30,000 and about 3,000 pounds of food, all given to local charities.
For more information about The Arc, call (910) 692-8272.
Wendy Russell is the executive director of The Arc of Moore County.
More like this story