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2005 Inductees


Robert Spivey

Robert Spivey served on the Board of Directors for the Choanoke Area Development Association for nearly 30 years. His impact and commitment to improving the quality of life for all residents of northeastern North Carolina are evident in his efforts to improve the quality of education and health care through his leadership to improve the economic development infrastructure of northeastern North Carolina.He has served as Mayor for the town of Windsor for 14 years, served as a Bertie County Commissioner, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Chowan College, Chairman of the Board for Bertie Memorial Hospital, Chairman of the North Carolina Northeast Development Commission, Mid East Council of Government and the Alliance for Progress and the Life Trustee of Chowan College. He is a strong supporter of the Boy Scouts and the American Red Cross. He has donated blood 128 times since the late 1950s, a 16 gallon milestone that is credited with saving 400 lives.

Dr. Bruce E. Whitaker

In 1962, Dr. Bruce E. Whitaker was a founding board member for the Choanoke Area Development Association (CADA). He became the first president of CADA that serves Bertie, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton counties. His leadership established a framework that allowed the agency to serve as a forum that brought diverse groups together to improve the quality of life for residents of northeastern North Carolina. In 1982, The Whitaker School at Butner for emotionally disturbed youth was named in his honor. In 1986, Dr. Whitaker was named as one of the nation’s 18 most effective college presidents by the Exxon Education Foundation. He has been recognized in both "Who's Who in American Education" and "Who's Who in the World". A native of Cleveland County, North Carolina, Dr. Whitaker is a graduate of Wake Forest College. He received his doctorate degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as a member of many professional organizations and in a multitude of capacities for various organizations serving the causes of higher education and mental health reform. He is married to Esther Adams of Conover, North Carolina. They are the proud parents of two sons, Berry, an investment banker with Wachovia Bank and Gary, an attorney. He is the proud grandfather of two granddaughters who have followed his leadership in providing service to the community.

Lawrence Wilson

Lawrence Wilson was introduced to community action in 1966 when his brother was hired as a staff member of Wake County Opportunities in Raleigh. In the summer of 1968, Lawrence was employed by the agency as a community organizer with the Youth Development Program. After completing his summer employment with the agency, Lawrence was later hired by Mrs. Dorothy Allen in a full-time position. Lawrence served the agency in a number of positions including Youth Development Program Director, Agency Planner and Deputy Director. After a brief stint in the private sector, Lawrence's community action service resumed with the North Carolina State Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). In November 1979 where he has continued to be an advocate for low-income families in North Carolina. After holding several management positions there, he was named Director of the Office in September 1993 and has served in that role under four gubernatorial administrations. At OEO he is responsible for the development of policies and plans that guide the administration of the Office's grant programs, which are designed to assist economically disadvantaged families achieve self-sufficiency.In addition to leadership duties at the Office of Economic Opportunity, Lawrence serves as a member of the following organizations: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Office of Community Services Monitoring and Assessment Task Force; Board of Directors of the National Association for Community Services Programs (East Coast CSBG Vice President); N.C. Results Oriented Management and Accountability Task Force; N.C. Housing Council for Coordinating Homeless Programs. Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, Mr. Wilson is an honors graduate of North Carolina Central University. He has done additional study at the University of Miami and North Carolina State University. He is a graduate of the North Carolina Public Managers Program. Lawrence is married to the former Linda J. Hall of Raleigh and is the proud father of three children, Tonya, Lawrence, Jr. and Lorraine.Wilson has received many honors and awards through the years as a result of his community and professional service. He devotes much of his time to church activities at First Congregational Church of Raleigh where he serves as a Deacon

Board of Directors

Dr. Lacy H. Caple

After arriving in Lexington, North Carolina in 1951, Dr. Lacy H. Caple quickly became one of the area’s most prominent leaders. Reared in a family that stressed education, he soon became an advocate for better and equal education for all people. He was the first African-American to be elected to a Board of Education in North Carolina. He gave a tremendous amount of his time, knowledge and expertise over the years in dedicating his life to the betterment of mankind through serving in various capacities in his community. Among them, his leadership as a member of the Davidson County Community Action, Inc.'s Board of Directors, Board member of Lexington Memorial Hospital, a volunteer with Davidson Medical Ministries, and a member of the North Carolina Dental Society. Dr. Caple served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Dentistry at Howard University in Washington, D.C. prior to relocating and opening a dental practice in Davidson County, North Carolina.For more than 52 years he has provided dental services in the community and often has provided services to those in need without seeking compensation.His social affiliations include: a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Pi Phi, Shiner, Kiwanis of Lexington and a Mason. Dr. Caple is a member of St. Stephen's United Methodist Church where he has served as a Sunday school teacher, lay speaker, treasurer and former chairman of the Administrative Board.

Rev. James Clemonts

Rev. James Clemonts represents the heart of community action. He symbolizes the many employees who give totally of themselves every day to assist those in need. Rev. Clemonts served as both an employee and a CADA Board Member.He advocated for those in need through his service in the community as a pastor, entrepreneur, member of the Board of Halifax County Memorial Hospital and founder of Tillery community churches.After receiving his call to ministry, he preached extensively throughout the county and was a former interim minister at Tillery Chapel Baptist Church, Tillery, North Carolina and the First Baptist Church in Weldon, North Carolina. He served as assistant pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Halifax, North Carolina and pastor of Galilee Baptist Church in Macon, North Carolina. He was preceded in death by his former wife, Katie DeLoatch. In later years, he married the former Winona Rawlings and together they shared many days of happiness. He was proud father of eight children, twenty-one grandchildren and eight great-great grandchildren.

Robert Henderson

A retired lieutenant from the Davidson County Sheriff's Office, Robert Henderson has always believed in helping people and giving back to his community. He has been a strong advocate for community action since 1965. Over the years, he has given of his time, energy, talent and finances to support the efforts of the Davidson County Community Action, Inc. As a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Commander of the Lexington American Legion Post 255, he has been able to rally the support of other organizations to assist DCCA in combating poverty in Davidson County. Currently serving as Treasurer of DCCA, Henderson is a graduate of the former Dunbar High School and Russell Business School. He has been married for 50 years to Annie I. Knotts. They are the proud parents of two daughters, Gilvon and Allinna. The Hendersons both serve as Trustees at First Baptist Church, Lexington, North Carolina.

Doris Cochran

Doris Cochran served as a member of the Board of Directors for CADA for more than two decades. While not a resident of the region, she was appointed by Halifax County officials to serve on the board. During her tenure, she was instrumental in establishing CADA's Neighborhood Youth Corp. and in helping to bring diverse populations together to identify and work on solving community issues. Cochran is married to Dr. Salter Cochran.

Nora Faucette

Nora Faucette enrolled in night classes at Livingston College to earn a Secretarial Certificate. With segregation as the order of the day, Faucette worked at the Negro Public Library in Salisbury, North Carolina. In 1965, she went to work as a clerk typist with the City of Salisbury. Faucette saw the job as a blessing because it led to a new job as a Relocation Officer and then to a job as a Housing Rehabilitation Specialist until her retirement in 1995. In both jobs with the City of Salisbury, Faucette worked diligently to improve the housing standards in the city, and to this day she continues to push for equality and quality housing standards through her involvement with the Salisbury-Rowan Community Service Council, Inc. She served as Chairperson of the Board of Directors from 2002 until 2005, and has been on the Board of Directors since 1999. She also is on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Rowan County and serves as a volunteer of the Jersey City Community Organization in her neighborhood. The group was organized to improve the vitality of the community and to reconnect former residents through annual reunions. Faucette's leadership as a housing advocate is evident in her work and service in the community and her dedication to improving the quality of life for all people. She is a member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church and her leadership in the community led the church to recognizing her in 1987 with the Martin Luther King Award. She is a member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church. She and her husband, Willie, have one son.

Ezra C. Gilliam

For more than 30 years, Ezra C. Gilliam has served as a dedicated member of the Salisbury-Rowan Community Service Council, Inc. (SRCSC) Board of Directors. Currently serving Treasurer Gilliam has been an asset to SRCSC and to his community. His life has been devoted to education through employment as both a teacher and principal. He was an instructor at Tuskegee Institute from 1951-1955. He graduated from both Livingstone College and North Carolina A&T State University with Bachelor of Science degrees and he received his Master's degree from Iowa State University. He is an active member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Salisbury, North Carolina, where he serves as an elder and was the Commissioner to the 201st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA in 1989. His civic involvement includes being a member of Phi Bea Sigma Fraternity, Inc., the NAACP, and the Rowan County Farm Service Administration. He continues to enjoy serving others through SRCSC and spending time with his lovely wife, Marion.

John H. McCoy

John H. McCoy was born in Georgetown, South Carolina on November 14, 1922. After a limited formal education in the South Carolina public schools, McCoy went to work with the railroad industry. In 1940, he was hired as a 4th Cook (known on the railroad as a Dishwasher) in the Diner Car Service where he worked and traveled all over the country and had the privilege of being in the same places as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and A. Philip Randolph. Both men had a tremendous impact on McCoy and his developing philosophies about helping others in need. During this same period, he became Involved in the Equal Opportunity Movement with Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. where he got his first taste of fighting for equal job opportunities for blacks, something he still maintains to this day. McCoy stayed with the Pennsylvania Railroad until 1944 where he resigned after he complained to his supervisor about doing the same work as his white co-workers but was not receiving the same pay. He then struck out for California in construction to build a naval dock at a place named "Rough and Ready Island" where he worked until after Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945. In 1946, because of the death of his stepfather, John McCoy returned to South Carolina to help with family affairs. It was in /Georgetown that he joined the international Longshoremen's Association, of which he has remained a member in good standing for over fifty years. In the 1950's, John and his wife, Verna, moved to Wilmington, NC where they established a family and over the years reared three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. It was in Wilmington, NC that John became heavily involved in the local community - both politically and socially. In 1967, he and a few grass root activists brought the first Head Start program to New Hanover County. After the first year, the small fledgling board restructured itself and established Head Start of New Hanover County. For many years, McCoy built community partnerships with state, local and federal government to bring relief to low-income children and their parents throughout New Hanover County. Former U.S. Congressman Charlie Rose, former U.S. Congresswoman Eva Clayton, and former State Senator Luther Jordan were just a few of his close personal friends as well as soldiers, in the war on poverty in New Hanover County. Over the years, he developed relationships that built many bridges for individuals in new Hanover County to overcome poverty and its effects. He served on many boards in the community including the City of Wilmington's Community Development Program and Low-Income Housing Finance Office. He was active in his church - Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal where he served as a trustee and as board member on numerous church committees and boards - always putting the needs of children first. Through his membership in I.L.A. and the local chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, he advocated for, and aided in the placement of hundreds of citizens in jobs that provided affordable wages and benefits. By 1986, John H. McCoy with the help of N.C. Governors Hunt and Martin took steps to secure the historic Peabody Elementary School site and to convert it with federal and private funding to the headquarters of new Hanover County Community Action, Inc. For 38 years, he has been a beacon of hope for 4 generations of low-income and at-risk children and families In New Hanover County. John H. McCoy is a New Hanover county hero.

Robert Earl Sessoms

A long-time community advocate, Rev. Robert Earl Sessoms served as member of the Board of Directors for the Choanoke Area Development Association (CADA) from 1981-1983 and as President of the Board from 1982-1983. His affiliations include: the Governor's One-On-One Program, served as chairman of the Minister's Council for Education for Northampton County Schools and currently serves as the First Vice President for the Northampton County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He is involved with the "Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative" and he works diligently to address the needs of the young and old by seeking resources to improve their quality of life. His religious affiliations include serving as Moderator of the West Roanoke Baptist Association, member of the General Baptist State Convention Board of Directors and member of the National Baptist Convention, USA. He is married to Barbara Price Sessoms. They have two children and three grandchildren.

Don Truell

Don Truell has elevated the presence of the Davidson County Community Action Agency through his visibility as Commissioner on the Davidson County Board of Commissioners, Chair of the Davidson County Community Action Association's Board of Directors and through his involvement as an outstanding leader in various community capacities. Recognized June 2004 as Davidson County's most valuable board member with the Winifred Blanton Award, Truell's record of public service is impressive having served on the Davidson County Board of Health, Davidson County Environmental Committee, Vice-Chairman Thomasville City Schools, Davidson County Day Reporting Probation/Parole Advisory Board, Piedmont Triad Council on Aging, Davidson County 9-1-1 Advisory Board, and Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation Board of Trustees. He served as chairman of the Thomasville Salvation Army for 17 years, Chairman of the Davidson County Senior Games, a board member of the United Way Greensboro, and also as a member of the National Association of Chief of Police and the American Police Chiefs Association. For some 14 years, he served the community as Chief of Police in Thomasville, North Carolina. Elected to the City Council in 1995, Truell then became Mayor in 1997 and was elected as a Davidson County Commissioner in 2002. He was elected by his peers to serve as Chairman of the Davidson County Board of Commissioners in 2004. Truell holds an Associate Degree from Ashmore Business College. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.

Executive Director

Helen L. Caple

In 1951, Helen L. Caple and her husband relocated to Lexington, North Carolina. From the time of their arrival the Caple's became to work in an undying effort to use their talents and knowledge to enhance the socio-economic status of the poor and under-educated citizens of Lexington and surrounding communities. In the absence of viable programs that offered assistance to individuals and families, Caple became the co-founder and Executive Director of the Davidson County Community Action Program. Under Caple's leadership, many people were given hope in the presence of hopelessness. Countless people received needed assistance with housing, utilities, medical issues and food. She believed that no one in need should go without the necessities of life. Caple fought tirelessly to equalize educational opportunities for all children. Under her leadership, funding was secured to build a new elementary school, South Lexington Elementary. She worked to end inequality in the level of educational services that were being provided to minorities. It was Caple's first-hand experience of living in poverty that led her to accept the position of Chair of the Board of Directors for the Lexington Housing Authority. A brilliant writer, speaker and poet, she never hesitated to share her talents. Caple was the kind of person that left a mark that will forever be remembered by those who had the privilege of knowing her.

Charles N. Holloway Sr.

Charles N. Holloway, Sr. has always been considered a dreamer and a visionary. Whatever he set his hands at doing, he would accomplish. He has often been summed up as a man of steel and velvet. He could have been a doctor or lawyer, but Holloway chose to serve those in need by attacking poverty with vigor and a determination to leave his community better than he found it. Holloway is the first African American to hold the following positions: Deputy Director of I-CARE, Inc. in Salisbury, North Carolina, Executive Director of Davidson County Community Action, Inc., Lexington, North Carolina, Executive Director of Salisbury-Rowan Council of Community Services, Inc., Salisbury, North Carolina, and the Urban Development of the City of Salisbury, Salisbury, North Carolina. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina and has completed graduate studies in Administration at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Holloway holds membership on numerous boards and associations in his community. He and his wife Lula are the proud parents of three children - Charles, Jr., Tonya and Leslie and grandparents to Justin, Charles III, Jada, Amber, Joshua and Quentin.

Lonnie D. Burton

In 2001, the North Carolina Community Action Association's Board of Directors posthumously honored Lonnie D. Burton with the Lonnie D. Burton Achievement Award. The award is presented annually to an individual who, through the assistance of a community action program, has achieved a significant level of self-sufficiency and independence while recognition is given in the local community action agency's role in helping the nominee to help their self. The award focuses on personal progress and cannot be awarded to community action agency employees unless they are former recipients of agency services.Burton served as the Executive Director of the Opportunity Corporation of Madison-Buncombe Counties, which is now Community Action Opportunities, Inc. Under his leadership, efforts were focused on Head Start, Human Development, Family Financial Independence, Homelessness Assistance and Crisis Intervention for the elderly and handicapped and the Weatherization Assistance Program. The staff was made of seventy-five employees with 300 volunteers providing assistance to the agency.

Roberta W. Spencer

Roberta W. Spencer served as the founding Executive Director for the North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA) from 1989 until 2003. She also served as the President of the NCCAA from 1985 - 1989, and as Second Vice President of the Association from 1981 - 1985, as well as a member of the Board of Directors for the Southeastern Association of Community Action Agencies from 1983 - 2001. Under Spencer's leadership and in partnership with the state's community action agencies, the NCCAA realized the leveraging of additional funds from the North Carolina General Assembly for Weatherization funds in excess of $30 million while utilizing Return on the Investment Strategies. Additional funds were secured from the North Carolina Assembly through federal and state grants and private foundations to assist the state's community action network. Over her tenure, Spencer helped to secure $3.5 million from these agencies. Spencer is also credited for helping to establish a state association office, for her leadership in bringing about change through aggressively calling on members of the North Carolina General Assembly for action on various issues that affect low-income North Carolinians. She was recognized for her leadership with the state's most prestigious award, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award by Governors Jim Martin in 1989 and Jim Hunt in 1985.Spencer resides in Key West, Florida with her husband, Vaughan.

Gloria M. Williams

Gloria M. Williams is one of three Individuals whose commitment and outstanding service was recognized posthumously with an award being named in her honor by the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Community Action Association In 2001.The Gloria M. Williams Award is presented annually to a corporation, foundation, or other valuable partner that has advanced the cause of the North Carolina Community Action Association or one of its members. The award focuses on substantial financial, volunteer or political support.Williams served as Executive Director for the then Orange-Chatham Community Action, Inc. which at that time served Chatham and Orange counties. Under her leadership, the agency incorporated spin off programs like North State Legal Services, Orange-Chatham Home Repair, Inc., North Carolina Rural Communities Assistance Project, Orange-Chatham Comprehensive Health Center, Chatham County Housing Authority, Orange County Department of Aging and the Orange County Community Development Corporation. It employed twenty-five staff persons and had a volunteer pool of 125 people.

Jimmie R. Hutchens 

Described by many who knew him as a "workaholic", with a knowledge of state and federal programs, "like a walking encyclopedia", Jimmie R. Hutchens was a man of great character. He worked for the Yadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (YVEDDI) for almost 30 years. Former Surry County Commissioner Gary York said of Hutchens, "his family, friends and benefactors will never know a person who gave, shared, and cared more for others or who aspired with more enthusiasm and hope to improve and enhance the lives of those truly needed help." Hutchens started working for YVEDDI back in the early days when fighting the "War on Poverty" was not an easy task. But, he was a warrior, one who never gave up. YVEDDI was his life. He did not take vacations and gave unselfishly of his time and talents to serve the citizens of Davie, Stokes, Surry and especially Yadkin County. He was a master at writing proposals, grants and contracts that secured funds to provide programs to benefit many thousands of people during his years of service. With this expertise he was able to mobilize resources to renovate the Community Building in Yadkinville into the Yadkin County Senior Center, to construct the Yadkin Valley Senior Center in Jonesville, and at the time of his death, the committee was close to finalizing the construction of the East Bend Senior Center. In 1963, he worked as an administrative assistant to Rep. Jim Broyhill, he became a County Coordinator for YVEDDI in 1969, was named Deputy Director of YVEDDI in 1970 and President/Executive Director in 1971. In 1988, under his leadership, the Yadkin County Chamber of Commerce was created. Hutchens was truly the guiding force behind many accomplishments at YVEDDI. Hutchens' lifeless body was found at his home when he did not show up for work at the agency

John Leatherwood

John Leatherwood has been a leader and advocate for low-income families on the local, state, regional and national levels. From 1969-1998, he served as Executive Director for WCCA. Leatherwood was instrumental in the development of the North Carolina Community Action Association. He has experienced the Association's growth as a member, board member and as president. His efforts have helped lead the organization from a totally volunteer organization with membership limited to only executive directors to more than 350 members. In 1974 when North Carolina Governor Jim Holshouser forbid state agencies from contracting with community action agencies, Leatherwood led the fight by suing the governor. The governor lost. To this day, there is a consent of decree from the North Carolina Judiciary guaranteeing that community action agencies be considered for any contract they want. The existence of community action in North Carolina is a testament to the Leatherwood's leadership. He has served as Treasurer for the National Community Action Partnership. He currently serves on the N.C. Community Action Associations Board of Directors as a representative for the Southeastern Community Action Association (SEACAA).

James T. Barnett

A founder of the Choanoke Area Development Association, Inc. (CADA), James T. Barnett was the community action agency's first Executive Director. He is credited with designing and spearheading the development of the innovative rural public transportation system that would serve the low-income population in Halifax, Bertie, Hertford and Northampton Counties. This mini-bus concept gained national attention and was recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation as a model program for rural populations. Barnett was also founding board member for MDC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a nonprofit economic development organization. A pioneer in the community action movement in North Carolina, his advocacy was critical in the construction of public television broadcast station by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill public television's network. He was an advocate for all people. The public transportation system that still provides service today is monument to his spirit and tenacity.

The Honorable John Hall

The late State Representative John Douglas Hall had an ability to persuade and sell ideas and strategies. He served his community on the Board of Directors for CADA for fifteen years, was elected to the Scotland Neck Town Council, then to the Halifax County Board of Commissioners. His leadership of service continued while serving as a Democrat representing North Carolina's seventh House District. In this capacity, he served on the Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee, vice-chair of the Insurance Committee and a member of the Appropriations and Judiciary II Committees. Rep. Hall was committed to working with people from all walks of life. He opened doors for the rights of women, the physically challenged and the incarcerated. He studied radio communications at Pitt Community College and worked for WYAL-1280 AM Gospel Radio in Scotland Neck, first as an announcer and then as a salesman. He joined WYAL as general manager in 1991 and became proud owner of the station in 1997. Rep. Hall died at the age of 48. His memories are forever cherished by his mother, Lois Marie Richardson Hall, a sister, Georgette Hall Powell and a number of nieces and nephews.

Andrew T. Harris

Under the leadership of Andrew T. Harris, the Salisbury-Rowan Community Service Council, Inc. (SRCSC) developed from a one-county service delivery area to a six-county operation. This expansion was due to the building and success of the agencies Head Start Program which led to a staff of more than 200 people. Harris devoted 30 years to the agency, following his work as a teacher and principal in the area for 10 years. A graduate of Livingstone College, Harris served as a Neighborhood Coordinator, Assistant Director of Community Organization and Planning, Director of Operations and Personnel and then as Executive Director of the agency. As a faithful member of Sandy Ridge AME Zion Church, he has chaired the Board of Trustees and Layman's Council. He and his wife, Marion, are the parents of two daughters and are happily enjoying retirement with their grandchildren.

Roselle Copeland

Roselle Copeland was recognized posthumously for her contributions to the community action network. In 2001, in her honor the North Carolina Community Action Association's Board of Director created the Roselle Copeland Stewardship Award. The award is presented annually to an individual member of the North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA) who has been in good standing with the NCCAA for no less than two years and whose exemplary individual contributions have contributed to the Association, the local community or agency and/or low-income community at-large.

Sallie P. Surface

An advocate for issues that face low-income individuals, as executive director for CADA, Sallie P. Surface has led the agency to be recognized for the historic preservation of Senior Housing from Rebuild America and the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. The agency received the first North Carolina housing Finance Agency Award for Housing Rehabilitation for one of its affordable housing development projects. It was also recognized by the North Carolina Department of Commerce for the First Leadership Award with the City of Roanoke Rapids for Innovative Housing, a project also recognized by the National League of Cities and which secured funding for two single family housing developments along with a tax credit project that converted a historic school building into apartments for senior citizens. Surface is known throughout her service area as someone who can get the job done as an advocate for low-income individuals. She facilitated the development and implementation of the Floyd Disaster Recovery Program for local counties following Hurricane Floyd, and she also led the effort in chartering and development of the Bertie County Job Link Career Center. A graduate of Wake Forest  University, she is a member of the board for the North Carolina Low ­Income Housing Coalition and the Weatherization Assistance Program Policy Council. She has presented at national conferences and has served on the National Weatherization Evaluation Planning Committee. She is married to Daniel C. Surface. They are proud parents of Dr. Eric Surface, Julian Surface and Brian Surface. 


Albert Ruff Jr.

A 1966 graduate of Livingstone College, Albert Ruff, Jr. has worked tirelessly to help poor underemployed and unemployed individuals get employment that would lead to self-sufficiency. His service at the SRCSC has included positions as a counselor with the Manpower Program, Equality Opportunity Officer, Community Service Director, Weatherization Director and Community Services Block Grant Director. Ruff has devoted more than 38 years to assisting low-income individuals through his many roles at SRCSC. As CSBG Director, it was nothing for him to take oil or kerosene to a client's home at night or on the weekend or even cut wood for families to help keep them warm. Through the Manpower Program, he organized more than 100 jobs for low-income Rowan County residents, utilizing on-the-job training contracts. He provided employment opportunities for more than 300 low-income residents - many with Southern Railways.In his community, he was influential in the development of the Spencer Forest neighborhood in Spencer, and the push for African-Americans to own homes. He was instrumental in constructing a community building in his neighborhood that is used as a senior citizens' meal site. Also, his leadership helped assist countless students with securing tuition and book expenses for college. A longstanding member of the North Carolina Community Action Association and the National Community Action Partnership, Ruff also belongs to the Livingstone College Alumni Association, the Granite Quarry Men's Club and the White Rock Garden Senior Citizen's Housing program. He and his wife, Barbara, have four children and eight grandchildren.

Paulette Lawrence

Paulette Lawrence began her career at CADA. In 1966 and worked there for nearly 38 years. While serving as the Controller for 22 years, she directed the financial activities of the agency including management of an annual budget in excess of $9 million and the transformation to a computerized grants management system. During her tenure at the agency, she held several positions: secretary, bookkeeper, accounting supervisor and finance officer. Lawrence is a native of Gates County, North Carolina and is married to Donald Lawrence. They are the parents of two daughters, Sonya Renee Lawrence, who is an Aerospace Education Specialist with NASA and Dr. Stacey Michelle Lawrence Rawls who is a resident in Psychiatry at the Medical College of Virginia.Lawrence is now enjoying spending time with her new granddaughter and volunteering in her community

Barbara H. Walser

Currently employed as the Community Services Block Grant, Director for Davidson County Community Action, Inc., Barbara H. Walser has worked with providing human services through the agency for 35 years. It was a receptionist job that landed her at the agency. With a strong compassion and dedication to serving others, Walser is recognized as a community leader by public, private and faith-based organizations throughout Davidson County. She has diligently recruited agency volunteers and has raised funds over the years that have benefited the agency and community in numerous ways. She serves in various capacities on statewide and community-based organizations that are aimed at improving the quality of life for low-income individuals. After receiving a formal education in Brooklyn, NY, she attended Davidson Community College and completed nonprofit management training through Duke University. She is married to Donald Walser and together they have nine children

Betty Whitson

In the early years of President Johnson's "War on Poverty", WAMY Community Action emerged in the mountains of North Carolina as a formidable weapon in that war. In 1965, a young mother of five children came to work for WAMY as a "friendly home visitor". With her co-workers, Betty Whitson fought a personal battle against poverty in order to improve the lives of her isolated mountain neighbors. In those days, the agency felt it was important to visit every family in its counties to learn firsthand the needs of the residents. As a result, self-help ventures in crafts, gardening and animal husbandry were set up to bring much needed income to rural communities. "Whatever there was to do to help people, we would try it", said one of Whitson's co-workers. For 38 years, Whitson went the extra mile for her families whether it was taking a crew of men to pull pine seedlings, hauling quilt filler from Tennessee in her truck or taking a vanload of seniors who had never been outside the county to the state fair. Whitson was the fourth of 10 children. Her father was a carpenter and Baptist minister and mother took care of the home and raised the children. Growing up on a small farm, Whitson learned how to farm, grow a garden, raise livestock, sew, quilt and cook nutritious meals on a shoestring budget. In 2002, after suffering from an aneurysm, she retired. She continues to enjoy the company of her children, grandchildren, friends, neighbors, her flowers and her church.

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