Eagle, by Aberdeen Police Lt. Jesse Smith and Southern Pines officer Kirsten Czako, for quick actions that saved the lives of four people.

Smith was honored by Aberdeen recently for his efforts to save two people in separate car accidents, both occurring while he was off-duty and driving home from work.

One accident entailed a car that had run off the road and was hard to spot. A second accident involved a car on fire, and Smith worked to pull the driver free.

“I just feel like I was put there for a reason,” Smith said. “The good Lord put me there at the right time.”

Czako was honored by Southern Pines officials with also saving two lives. One involved her quickly administering Narcan to reverse a drug overdose, and the other involved performing CPR on a patient.

“It’s incredibly impactful to know that you make a difference and through my line of work to have the ability to go to calls and be there for people,” Czako said. “That’s really what I signed up for.”

Birdie, by Hollie Vires, owner of Realty One Group Liberty in Southern Pines and Fayetteville, who last month followed her corporate CEO in leading a local toy drive for the displaced children of Ukraine.

Vires put out the word that she was trying to fill shoe boxes with toys and small items for children who had fled their war-torn country.

“It’s the largest refugee immigration since World War II,” Vires said, “and so many of these children have nothing but the clothes on their back.”

Vires shipped out more than 200 boxes in a short turnaround. Included in the first wave of donations were toys collected by longtime Pinehurst resident and Holocaust survivor Ralph Jacobson. Jacobson was forced to flee his native Germany at the age of 10. He collected toys his entire life. His widow, Vivian, donated four special boxes of soft stuffed toys.

Now, they are “back to Europe,” Jacobson said, “to the place from which toys were originally taken from Ralph.”

Vires also determined that Realty One Liberty would donate 25 percent of sales commissions for homes listed with their team through April 30 to Ukrainian humanitarian efforts.

Birdie, by brothers Liam and Connor Corley, who have quietly spent the past four years collecting food donations for the Moore County Pet Responsibility Committee’s Pet Pantry Program.

The two spent a recent Saturday going around the Downtown Aberdeen Dog Fair handing out fliers to all the kids they saw with the dogs. The flier read, in part: “Do you love pets? We do! For our birthdays, we asked our friends to bring pet food or money to buy pet food instead of birthday gifts for us. We have enough toys and we love animals!”

The two gave more than 1,000 pounds of food to the pantry, which is a resource for those having trouble paying for their pets’ food.

“Birthday gifts can be so stressful for kids to pick out, parents to buy, and the likelihood that it’ll be played with for long are slim,” said their mother, Clayton. “So, we began to encourage the boys to do something meaningful and to make their community a better place instead.”

Birdie, by three local businesses that were recently honored for their support of the United Way. First Bank, FirstHealth of the Carolinas and Golf Pride received 2021 Spirit of North Carolina Awards at the United Way of North Carolina annual meeting in Pinehurst. The award celebrates organizations for their campaign excellence achieved through impactful events, engaged leadership and volunteer engagement.

“We applaud all our companies for being difference makers in the community,” said United Way of Moore County Executive Director Linda Pearson, “and are excited to honor these three along with others across the state.”

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