top of page

2009 Inductees


Dr. Andrew W. Dobelstein

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Andrew W. Dobelstein, Ph. D., has been a professor with the University of North Carolina since 1968 and emeritus in 2005. He teaches social welfare policy, conducts research in the field of welfare politics, and provides extensive community service to state and local and national organizations concerned with poverty issues. He has held joint appointments with the Bush Institute for the Study of Children's Policy, U.N.C., Greensboro and University of California at Los Angeles. In 1987, with the assistance of two professional colleagues, he formed the Conference on Poverty, a 501C(3) nonprofit corporation, which provided data training and consultation to local organizations working with poverty. He served on the North Carolina General Assembly's Joint Legislative Welfare Reform Study Commission and assisted in developing and implementing North Carolina's 1997 welfare reform plan. Since coming to North Carolina In 1968, Dr. Dobelstein has provided extensive training and consultation to most of North Carolina's Community Action Agencies. He established the only certificate training program for CAA workers through the University of North Carolina's program of Continuing Education and under the authority of his Conference on Poverty, he implemented more than thirty local community poverty forums to strengthen local CAAs in their efforts to reduce poverty in their local communities. He has published eight major textbooks on social welfare policy. His book, "Understanding the Social Security Act: The Foundation of Social Welfare for America in the Twenty-first Century" (2009) is available from Oxford University Press. Dobelsteincontinues to visit and support BROC, Ashe County, in his frequent trips to Western North Carolina.

Board of Directors

Timothy Bazemore, Sr.

A graduate of the Creecy High School Class of 1941 in Northampton County, Bazemore was inducted into the army and was scheduled for assignment in Japan the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. After returning to the states, he became an entrepreneur in the logging and farming industries, 1947-1967. He was involved in many community activities during these years, including the Concerned Citizens Civil Rights Organization. Bazemore organized a tutorial program in the 1960s that was instrumental in getting aides for teachers into the classrooms of the Bertie County School System. He also founded the Good Neighbor Council. While studying brick masonry under the GI Bill, he was offered a job through Choanoke Area Development Association (CADA) and the North Carolina Fund to work with the Relocation Program - moving families from rural eastern North Carolina to the Piedmont Area. He initiated the Woodard Home Grown Food Project - "Growing Food for All Families" and became active on the CADA Board of Directors while he worked to save the Bertie County sewing industry that eventually became bankrupt. He started a new operation owned by the people that worked there called "Workers Owned." This operation grew from 5 employees to 70 people with contracts as large as a half a million dollars with companies such as Kmart, in the manufacture of children's clothing. Semi-retired, Bazemore continues to be actively involved in the lives of people in his community. He currently farms 182 acres of wheat, soybean and corn, and operates a mobile home park of 63 units offering safe and affordable housing to recipients of the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8).

Dr. Maxine Broadway

Dr. Maxine McLinnahan-Broadway is an educator who has always been an advocate for education, civic and community issues. Born in Florence, South Carolina, she completed her undergraduate degree at Fayetteville State, a Master’s degree at Appalachian State University, Boone, NC prior to completing her Ph.D. at Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1988 she went to Livingstone College in Salisbury as an instructor and while there served as Department Head, and retired after holding the position as Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean of the College. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Salisbury Rowan Community Action Agency, where she serves as the board recording secretary. She has served as chairperson for the Agency's successful fundraising committee and holds active membership in numerous other civic organizations. Dr. Broadway worked on voter registration and contributed food to the local food banks. An avid writer, she has a passion for researching African American lifestyle and historical events. Several years ago, she began saving and collecting her work. Dr. Broadway has a strong faith in God and is active in her church serving as assistant director of the senior choir and chairing the committee to revise the Church's Directory.Dr. Maxine McLinnahan-Broadway is an educator who has always been an advocate for education, civic and community issues. Born in Florence, South Carolina, she completed her undergraduate degree at Fayetteville State, a Master’s degree at Appalachian State University, Boone, NC prior to completing her Ph.D. at Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1988 she went to Livingstone College in Salisbury as an instructor and while there served as Department Head, and retired after holding the position as Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean of the College. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Salisbury Rowan Community Action Agency, where she serves as the board recording secretary. She has served as chairperson for the Agency's successful fundraising committee and holds active membership in numerous other civic organizations. Dr. Broadway worked on voter registration and contributed food to the local food banks. An avid writer, she has a passion for researching African American lifestyle and historical events. Several years ago, she began saving and collecting her work. Dr. Broadway has a strong faith in God and is active in her church serving as assistant director of the senior choir and chairing the committee to revise the Church's Directory.

Bishop James Chapman

Bishop James Chapman was born in Lenoir County, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Chapman, Sr., of Kinston, North Carolina. He furthered his education at A&T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina where he received a B.S. Degree in Dairy Manufacturing and honorably served four and a half years in the U.S. Navy, carrying relief to missionaries in Japan and Hong Kong. Bishop Chapman went on to earn two Associates of Applied Science degrees in Business Administration-Management and Senior Accounting. Bishop Chapman joined the Greene Lamp, Inc. Board of Directors in 1989. He has played a critical role in the leadership of Greene Lamp, Inc., and has shared his time and talents with the agency for twenty years. Bishop Chapman quickly became involved with the Agency as a member of the Executive Committee. He was elected to the position of Secretary/Treasurer in November of 1989. He became the First Vice Chairman in 1991 and Chairman of the Board of Directors in 1995 and has served as Chairman for the last fourteen years. Bishop Chapman has consistently volunteered to meet with the Head Start On-Site Review Team helping to achieve a Program of Excellence three times in the last decade. Under his leadership, Greene Lamp, Inc. had expanded its programs In Early Childhood education, Youth services, and Self-Sufficiency. He is well known in the community as the pastor of Rhema Word Christian Center church of Christ. Through his work at the church, he has been instrumental in creating job opportunities and experiences, in addition to numerous businesses that include a beauty salon, clothing store, auto sales and child care center. He serves as a member of the Ministers Council to the mentally challenged, a former town councilman for the citizens of Snow Hill, NC. He is the past Co-Chairman of the Association of Congregations of Churches in Lenoir County. A graduate from the Nashville Theological Seminary with the Master’s degree in Christian Education, Bishop Chapman completed his Doctoral in Christian Counseling from the same school in 2004. Bishop Chapman brings a cooperative spirit and entrepreneurial skills to Greene Lamp, Inc. and the surrounding community.

Alfred W. Kwasikpui

Alfred W. Kwasikpui was born in New York City and received his diploma from Page Senior High School in Greensboro, North Carolina in December 1974. After high school, he majored In Urban Politics at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, graduating summa cum laude and receiving his B.A. Degree in 1978. He then earned a Juris Doctorate Degree at Wake Forest University School of Law in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1981 and became licensed to practice that August. Judge Kwasikpui served on active duty for three years with the United States Army as a military attorney at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and worked as an Assistant District Attorney for the former Sixth Prosecutorial District (Bertie, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton Counties) and the current Sixth-B District (Bertie, Hertford and Northampton Counties) from 1985 until 1990. Elected the first African-American District Court Judge for Judicial District Six-B in 1990, he was appointed Chief District Court Judge for Judicial District Six-B by the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. This appointment distinguished him as the second African-American Chief District Court Judge in the state's history. On the state level, Judge Kwasikpui has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the North Carolina District Court Judges' Association and the North Carolina Task Force on Child Well-Being and Domestic Violence. Currently President of the Conference of Chief District Court Judges, Judge Kwasikpui is a member of the North Carolina Custody/Visitation Mediation Subcommittee. In the local community, he serves as Chairman of the Roanoke-Chowan Domestic Violence Task Force, Vice-President of the Board of Directors for the Choanoke Area Development Association, Chairman of the Site Selection and Facility Design Subcommittee of the Northampton County Recreation Task Force, Communities in Schools Northeast Advisory Board, and the Northampton County Schools Anti-Violence Task Force. A co-founder of the EXODUS for Youth, Inc., role model organization that serves Bertie, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton Counties, Judge Kwasikpui coordinates the EXODUS annual lake day event for approximately 750 youth. He resides with this wife, Shirley, and their two sons in Seaboard and is a member and former Chairman of the Trustee Board of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Seaboard, North Carolina.

Tyrone Williams

Mr. Williams is a native of Enfield, North Carolina in Halifax County and an alumnus of Enfield High School and North Carolina Central University. He has been employed in the workforce development system for over 29 years, with two of those years as an employee of CADA early in his career. He has spent the past 25 years with the Employment Security Commission and currently works as an Employment Service Regional Representative. He also serves on numerous boards on the local and state level, including the Halifax County Board of Education as Chairman. He is a member of the Halifax County Human Relations Council, Former Vice-Chairman of the Halifax County Democratic Party, a member of the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Employment and Training Association, and an ex-officio member of the Halifax County Education Foundation. He is a certified Lead Auditor for ISO 9001:200 TQM, Total Quality Management Standards and a candidate for the state of North Carolina's Public Manager Program. Williams has served on CADA's Board of Directors for the past 15 years and was appointed to the board by the HalifaxCounty Board of Commissioners. He is the current President of CADA's Board of Directors. The father of three sons, Williams is motivated by the words of his late educator father, Luther M. Williams, "It is not how long one lives but how well one lives". His charge to others is his personal motto, "Go the extra mile, it is the shortcut to success".

Marcia M. Wright

Marcia Wright has served as a Board Member, Vice-Chairperson and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of ECHSA off and on since the early 1980s. She also serves on the Planning, Executive and Personnel Committees. She provides annual training for the Board of Directors on various aspects of nonprofit management and Board service. She attends the annual Boardsmanship Training Program sponsored by the City of Jacksonville and Onslow County so that ECHSA can qualify for city/county funding. She has also presented at a previous annual NCCAA state meeting on Nonprofit Board Service. As Executive Director of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc. - Eastern NC Chapter (SCDAA-ENCC), Ms. Wright oversees a comprehensive service program targeting persons with sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait. Wright has and continues to represent the agency and Board of Directors, whenever appropriate, at state and local meetings, Including County Commissioner and City Council sessions. During her tenure as Board Chairperson, ECHSA received a significant grant from a local bank which was used to support the daycare program. Wright participates on a number of committees and efforts designed to secure housing, employment, transportation and medical services for low and moderate income families. A staunch advocate for community action programs, Wright believes that "community action agencies are the long term answer to improving the overall status of low income people, by providing services that empower them to uplift themselves, their families and their communities, one neighborhood at a time." Her affiliations include the Housing Support Committee, NC Center for Nonprofits Board of Directors, Jacksonville Community Development Advisory Committee, NC Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc., Jacksonville Mayor's Committee for persons with Disabilities and the Onslow United Transit Board of Directors to name a few.

Executive Director

James Winston Sessoms, Sr.

James Winston Sessoms, Sr. was born in Bertie County on March 17, 1922 to Raleigh and Joyce Sessoms. He was joined in holy matrimony to the late Armecia T. Sessoms and was the father of four and grandfather of three. Winston, as he was called by many, graduated from C. G. White High School in Powellsville, NC, Pitt and Roanoke Chowan Technical Colleges. Sessoms began his community service with CADA as the Assistant Manager of Community Service and Family Group Worker for CADA in Windsor, NC. He became Manager of Community Service and in 1983 became Executive Director, serving in that position until 1990 when he retired. Active in the local schools, Sessoms was a PTA President at Piney Wood Chapel Elementary School and later at C. G. White High School. He was also a deacon, teacher and Sunday school Superintendent of Piney Wood Chapel Baptist Church. Other works include: Bertie County United Voters Movement, Chairman of the Bertie County Human Relations Committee and Mid-Eastern Commission Executive member.


Eugene W. Brown, Jr.

Eugene Brown is a native of Rich Square, NC, where he graduated from Rich Square High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Brown began his long career of community services as the CADA Manager of Community Services in January of 1968. In 1970, he began his career at Roanoke Electric Cooperative, serving until 1987 when he retired as General Manager. Brown served on the Rich Square Town Board for 16 years, including two as mayor. His community services include: CHAP (Citizens Health Assistance Program) Board which evolved into the present Rural Health Group, Roanoke-Chowan Hospital Board, Roanoke-Chowan Foundation Board, Northampton County Chamber of Commerce Board, Rich Square Medical Center Board, Northampton Soil and Water Conservation District Board, Northampton County Board of Adjustment, and Four Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Council Board. He and his wife, Opal, continue to live in Rich Square and operate a tree farm.

Ervin Michael Edgerton

Ervin Michael Edgerton started with the Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency in 1983 as a Teacher's Assistant having completed his Bachelor's degree at Johnson C. Smith University. He completed a Bachelor's degree at Shaw and in 2001, a Master of Science degree at North Carolina Central University. During his tenure with the SRCAA, he became a Head Start Teacher, Lead Teacher at Price Center, Disability Coordinator, Head Start Assistant Director and is presently working as a Unit Manager, responsible for Transportation. While working with the SRCAA, Ervin had many accomplishments. He initiated the Male Involvement Program, which allows the fathers of the children in Head Start to become a part of their children's growth both socially and emotionally, and wrote the first grant for this program. The men participate in outings, Father/Child fashion shows and male Involvement parades. Edgerton organized basketball tournaments for the men and organized family day at Livingstone College as a means of helping the men to become more aware of their role in the development of their children. Edgerton also assisted in the writing of the Early Head Start Grant. He was on the Smart Start Board, Child Protection Team, and Coordinator for transportation for the national Youth Sports Program at Livingstone College, Dunbar Center and the Cypress House Summer Program for Youth in Moore County.

Joyce Malone Garrison

Joyce Malone Garrison was one of the very first employees hired in the infancy of the Choanoke Area Development Association in 1965. She worked at the agency for 26 years as Executive Secretary, then Administrative Assistant and finally as Acting Executive Director. Ms. Garrison's diligence, extensive knowledge of the service area, and her willingness to go that extra distance in all things, allowed the agency to best meet the needs of the residents of Bertie, Halifax, Hertford and Northampton Counties. Ms. Garrison retired from CADA in 1991 and went on to serve the community in her position at Chowan University in the early 1990s. In its pioneering years, CADA greatly benefited from the skills and work ethic of Ms. Garrison in all facets of her work that made it possible for the agency to grow and deliver the very best in customer service.

Waymon Gainey

Waymon has been with Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action, Inc. for thirty-four (34) years. A graduate of Fayetteville State University, he has had a lead role in Weatherization from the very beginning. In 1996 when Weatherization took a new turn, Mr. Gainey was one of the directors responsible for conducting the new Energy Audit. Due to his efforts, the agency received a Recognition Award from the Honorable Hazel R. O'Leary, Secretary of Energy, December 1996. Through his leadership, the agency has moved from crews to subcontracting Weatherization Service, helping the program to operate in a more efficient manner. Waymon makes sure the agency meets its goals for the Weatherization/HARRP Program every year. He had enough courage to tackle the Wake County Weatherization Program when it was closed down for two years. He is deserving of the Hall of Fame and is proudly nominated.

Ella George

Ella George has been an employee of Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action for forty-two (42) years in the Head Start Program. She has taught countless numbers of Head Start Children and assisted their families. There are no words to describe her love for children and her job. She was one of the first teachers in the Head Start Program at Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action and has not given up yet. If anyone deserves to be in the North Carolina Hall of Fame it is Ella George. She is the proud mother of four children of her own.

Lawanda Hopkins

Lawanda Hopkins has been a dedicated staff member at Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action for over 35 years and currently serves as Accounting Technician. She began her work at the agency when they were few in number. After completing coursework at Kings Business College in Secretarial Administration and Accounting, Hopkins began work as Secretary to the first Executive Director, Paul Keller, and has worked in several positions in the agency. She later worked in the Head Start Program as Secretary for thirteen years prior to joining the Fiscal Department at the agency. She is a conscientious worker who strives for perfection. Lawanda has definitely been an asset to the agency due to her commitment to the agency for so many years. She has Community Action in her blood and believes in what the agency does to help people and to change lives. She is married, has two children and is the proud grandmother of four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Carrie Joyner

Carrie Joyner received a Bachelor's Degree in Business from Elizabeth City State University in 1966 and began working with Choanoke Area Development Association of NC, Inc. (CADA) later that year. During her forty-three year tenure with CADA, she has dutifully served the citizens of Northampton County in a variety of capacities initially in a Secretarial position, as Center Manager and currently as Agency Resource and Referral Specialist. In addition to the positions held by Joyner, she serves as a mentor for other staff members. Her vast knowledge of the many programs administered by CADA throughout the years has given her a unique and experienced perspective she readily shares with others. Her sensible approach and quiet demeanor provides coworkers and the community alike, with professional and courteous service. Her positive attitude and willingness to help her community endear her as an asset to CADA and the clients served.

Lola Sykes Liverman

Lola "Lou" Sykes Liverman was born in Roanoke Rapids, NC in 1930. She attended Roanoke Rapids Grade and High School and the Carolina College of Beauty Culture In Raleigh, NC. Sykes began working for Choanoke Area Development Association of NC, Inc. in 1971 as an Emergency Food and Medical Service Worker for the Operation Hope II program until it ended In August 1972. She then worked as a Neighborhood Specialist until July 1976, when she became Program Manager of the Section 8 Housing Assistance Program. Sykes acquired Certification in Housing Quality Standards and was a Certified Section 8 Financial Manager and a Certified Manager of Section 8 Existing and Public Housing Programs. She remained the Manager of this program until her retirement in September 2001. Sykes was an active member of the NC Community Action Association, the NC Low Income Housing Coalition, and the Southeast Regional Section 8 Housing Association. From the very beginning, she had the wonderful ability to empathize with the people she served. This was evident in a newsletter article she wrote in 1997 entitled "Day's End Has Real Meaning". After describing a few cases she had worked with as a CADA Outreach Worker one day, Ms. Liverman summed it up in her own words, "What a good feeling it is to end the day with the satisfaction that you have played a small role in making the plight of the poor and undernourished a little easier to bear." In the thirty years Sykes served the agency she never lost this ability and helped to make life better for many citizens she helped with housing issues. Sykes married and lived in Murfreesboro, where she continues to reside. The mother of two children, she enjoys spending time with her family and is the proud grandmother of five.

Michael McCullough

Mike McCullough began working for the Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency, Inc., Head Start/Early Head Start Program more than 27 years ago. He began teaching in the classroom and mentoring young preschoolers. In 1992 as the need for programs for younger preschoolers ages 0-3 grew, Mike helped establish and organize Early Head Start programs in the counties served. This included establishing partnerships with local civic/community organizations and project architects to design modern childcare facilities. Currently, McCullough is one of the senior management team members In the Head Start/Early Head Start program that serves 1,000+ children in 5 counties. Early in his career, he earned a Child Development Associate (CDA), an AA in Early Childhood before completing a BA in Birth to Kindergarten degree. McCullough is a member of Cornerstone Baptist Church, NC Founding Member/Board Member and thirty-year Head Football coach in the Rowan County Youth Football League where he coaches and mentors 1,500+ young players. He is married and has two children.

Joe L. Mingo

Joe L. Mingo, Sr. has represented a life of service to his family, church and community for more than sixty years. In 1968, he became the first African American elected official in Kannapolis. During service on the Kannapolis School Board, Joe Mingo served in many positions within the board as well as on the State School Board. He became one of the first charter members of the Kannapolis, Royal Oaks Sponsored, and Optimist Club. This body of men today still generously serves the civic needs of the people of Kannapolis. Mingo continues his work of service as the first African American member In the Kannapolis Rotary Club. In the past few years, he received the distinguished Paul Harris Fellow Award. The Democratic Party of Cabarrus County and State Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. expressed their appreciation by honoring him as a Special Volunteer, presenting him with a certificate of appreciation for his years of community service. Lastly, Mr. Mingo was tapped as a vital member of the "Mission Marlboro Team" created by Phillip Morris U.S.A. to serve as a liaison between the corporation and the community. For many years this company and the team's mission bridged growth and prosperity to the citizens of Cabarrus County. Mingo is married and has two sons and two grandchildren. He was educated at George Washington Carver High School and Shaw University Cape Center Campus, Kannapolis, NC.

Yvonne Moore

Yvonne Moore has dedicated 17 years of her career as a servant to her community through the NCCAA. Prior to employment with Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency, she was employed as the former Assistant Office Manager with the Rowan Count Housing Authority. Today, she is employed as a CSBG Case Manager with the Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency. Her first position with the agency was CSBG Case Manager for the Relocation Housing Program. Moore excelled in this opportunity to create and manage new housing opportunities for clients by helping them to move from sub-standard to standard housing. Preparing required weatherization applications, Mrs. Moore established client resources from faith-based initiatives (local churches), Salvation Army, Red Cross and Rowan Helping Ministries. Assisting CSBG clients to rise above the poverty guideline, Moore provides clients with the resources, knowledge and skills to acquire a more rewarding education, employment and a safe and secure housing environment.

Laura "Tina" Ray

Laura "Tina" Ray has been with the agency for thirty years. Twice graduated from North Carolina Central University, she completed her undergraduate and Master’s Degree before beginning her career with Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action in 1979. She has worked in two positions as Social Services/Parent Involvement Coordinator and CSBG Director. A strong advocate for children and families, Ray serves on several boards and committees promoting Community Action in the community, including the NCCAA Board, which is important to her. She is a member of the Policy Committee for the Smithfield-Selma Chamber of Commerce, the DSS Child Fatality Committee, The Johnston County Citizens Association and the Arts Council. An avid poet, Ray has shared her poetry with various organizations and churches. She is one of the strongest supporters for the agency and has been involved on numerous agency committees. Her advocacy for the agency has enabled them to accomplish many of their goals - most importantly to serve those least able to help themselves. She has three sons, one daughter and eleven grandchildren.

Marilyn Mitchell Suitt

A proud North Carolina native, Suitt was born Marilyn Marie Futrell to the late Charlie and Tessie Futrell in the town of Woodland. A graduate of Elizabeth City State University, she earned certificate in Secretarial Science, a B.S. degree in Business Administration and later earned a Master of Divinity degree at Shaw University Divinity School. Other educational experiences include Meredith College, NC Central University, Wake Technical Community College and Chicago Theological Seminary. Her Clinical Pastoral Education and Chaplaincy experiences were at Wake Medical Center, Raleigh, NC and Alamance Regional Medical Center, Burlington, NC. Through her compassion for humankind, Suitt provided counseling at Allied Churches of Alamance County Homeless Shelter and obtained a license to provide foster care in the State of NC. Involved with community action since June 1966, she began her career of 16 years at Choanoke Area Development Association and later served on the Board of Directors for Wake County Opportunities in Raleigh. During her employment with the NC Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Economic Opportunity, she provided services and fiscal technical assistance to NC Community Action Agencies, through on-site and off-site fiscal monitoring. Other employment experiences include Finance Officer at Northampton County Schools, Office of the NC Secretary of State, Martin Street and Christian Faith Baptist Churches, NC Rural Economic Development Center and Legal Assistant to the NC General Assembly. Suitt retired from the State of NC in July 2008. However, she is active at Christian Faith Baptist Church in Raleigh where she serves on the Mission, AIDS, and Women's Ministries. A member of the Advisory Board for the Hammond Road Branch of the State Employees Credit Union, Suitt is the proud mother of three children and four grandchildren.

Shirley Whitley

A thirty-six (36) year veteran with Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action, Inc., Whitley has served in various positions and moved the program in a very positive direction over the years. She began as Resource Teacher, Specially Funded Coordinator, Education Coordinator for Head Start and was named Head Start Director for the agency in 1984. Whitley is not afraid to take on any challenge that presents itself to the agency. Her name should be Shirley "Team player" Whitley. There is no job too big or too small if she can help make a change in the agency. Her involvement with the North Carolina Head Start Association is invaluable. She has been Treasurer, Secretary and is the present Treasurer for the Association. Whitley is also involved with the Partnership for Children in Johnston, Lee and Harnett Counties. A graduate of North Carolina Central University, with a Master's degree, she is definitely a Champion for children. It is an honor to nominate her for the North Carolina Community Action Hall of Fame.

Clara M. Wilson

A thirty year resident of Seaboard, North Carolina in Northampton County, Clara Wilson has spent her life as a mother, public servant and educator. She began working 56 years ago -- her first job being the first teaching assistant at Crossroad Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia. She remained in that position until 1962 when she returned to North Carolina. Unable to find similar employment, she worked as a nanny and provided professional cleaning services, until she later married and relocated to New York for nearly four years. She obtained a degree in Social Work, before returning to Northampton County in the early 1970s. After a rigorous screening process, she became one of the County's first reading assistants, while simultaneously enrolling at Halifax Community College (HCC) to pursue an Associate's Degree in Elementary Education. As a result of her passion for education, love of learning and stellar performance, Wilson received a scholarship from HCC to attend North Carolina Wesleyan College and ultimately obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education In 1989. She was never a person who took the road of least resistance and always had a desire to help those with the greatest need. If service is the rent we pay for life on earth, Clara's bill should read: "paid in full." She served on the Northampton County Choanoke Area Development Association (CADA) Board of Directors (formerly known as PPOP - People's Program on Poverty) from the late 1960s through the 1980s and again from 1998 to her current term which expires in 2009. In addition to her service to CADA over the years, she has been recognized for her outstanding leadership and service by Bill and Mary Little, organizers of the Senior Education Corp (1992), Prevent Blindness of North Carolina, Northampton County's Board of Health and Healthy Carolinians of North Carolina, County Health Department, and Office on Aging and the County Commissioners. A certified mentor for the county's Department of Social Services, Molly Safrit honored her with a certificate for providing service to over 2,000 school age children during a six year period in 2006. Her biggest awards are having the privilege to hold the title of Grand Marshal since 1992 and longest cancer survivor for the Roanoke Valley Relay for Life. Diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1968 and celebrating a diagnosis of cured in 1978, it is a blessing to have this mother of eight here today.

bottom of page