Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards

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The Governor’s Volunteer Service Award

The awards program was created by the Office of the Governor in 1979, and recognizes North Carolina’s most dedicated volunteers. Through the years, the award has been bestowed on thousands of North Carolinians who have shown concern and compassion for their neighbors by volunteering in their local community.

Currently, the program is administered by the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service and the Office of Governor Roy Cooper.  Volunteers nominated from the County are eligible to win the award; a maximum of 10 volunteers per County are bestowed the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award each year. One of the ten volunteers recommended by the County receives an endorsement to be a candidate for the Governor’s Medallion Award; the top 20 volunteers in the State will be bestowed this additional honor the Governor’s Medallion Award.

How to Nominate a Volunteer

2023 Nominations are being accepted 11/28/22 through 1/31/2023

If you/your organization would like to nominate a volunteer for the 2023 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award CLICK HERE to access the online nomination form or a downloadable form. Please contact Leslie Stanley, Brunswick County Non-Profit & Volunteer Coordinator/Local Designated Coordinator, for more information at 910-253-2589 or Forms completed online will be sent to Mrs. Stanley automatically. Downloadable forms should be completed, scanned, and emailed to Mrs. Stanley. Or, to mail a completed nomination form, please send it to Leslie Stanley’s attention at  Brunswick County Emergency Services, P.O Box 249, Bolivia, NC 28422. The deadline for 2023 nominations is midnight on January 31, 2023.

2023 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award Nomination Printable Form

2023 Brunswick County Awards Announced

The Brunswick County Non-Profit & Volunteer Coordinator has been informed that the following 10 residents have received the 2023 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award (in no particular order):

Christy Judah 


Brunswick Search and Rescue

The Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service was implemented in 2006 to recognize the top 20-25 volunteers in the state. Medallion recipients are nominated at the county level by the county award coordinator. Only one Medallion nomination is permitted per county. A statewide panel reviews and evaluates all these nominations to determine the award recipients.                                                                                                                                                                   In the Volunteer Service Award nomination from Chief Doug Dawson, Chief Dawson said, as the founder of Brunswick Search and Rescue “She has participated in over 350 emergency callouts to search for missing adults, children, dementia sufferers, and others; helped locate and recover drowned victims giving closure to the family, educated hundreds of children. She has become a world authority on use of K9’s for wilderness air scent, trailing, land and water human remains detection.”


Bob Lafontaine  


Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office

In the nomination from Sheriff Ingram and Lt. Chris Raynor, Sheriff Ingram said, “Mr. Lafontaine brings a positive attitude and enormous amount of knowledge from life experiences. He often provides new ideas to improve processes and services of the Sheriff’s Office. Since Mr. Lafontaine began volunteering in 2016, he has dedicated himself more than 3,402 hours to the Volunteer Services Program at the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. Without the dedication of Mr. Lafontaine, our agency and citizens would not be provided the high level of service we are able to.”


Chip Presley


Southport Oak Island Interchurch Fellowship Food Pantry

In the nomination from Laura Cacchione, Ms. Cacchione said, “Chip displays patience, compassion and organizational skills that have benefitted both the volunteers that serve at the food pantry and the clients we serve” and “his devotion to the Food Pantry is evident in all his actions.”


Chuck Blackburn 


American Legion Post 543

In the nomination from Steven Ratti, Mr. Ratti said, “We would need three talented people to do all that he does. He is active in recruiting new Post members and works tirelessly to support veterans and youth in the community.”


Diane Mesaris

[photo coming soon]                                                                                                                                                                               

Bald Head Island Public Safety

In the nomination from Chief Alan May, Chief May said, “I believe Diane is the best choice for the award because she consistently displays our agency’s values of professionalism, integrity, respect, and service” and “Diane encourages the people she works with to commit to personal development and to avail themselves of the tools to enable them to care for our community. Any success I have with the volunteer contingent is because of Diane’s continued commitment to group and the Bald Head Island community as a whole.”


Jerry Wolf   

[photo coming soon]                                                                                                                                                                                            

City of Boiling Spring Lakes

In the nomination from Gordon Hargrove, Mr. Hargrove said, “Accounts of his work say Jerry is a joy to be around. He is dependable, independent, self-motivated, and an overall professional. His communication skills are remarkable, and the team loves him for it.”


Henry Hewett 


Sunset Harbor Zion Hill Volunteer Fire Department

In the nomination from Chief Rob Johnson, Chief Johnson said, “Henry has been a lifelong, loyal ad dedicated member to this department and has helped it to grow and improve over the years.  He is an excellent example of a dedicated volunteer and is well deserving of this award.”


Kelly Helbig    


Jack Helbig Memorial Foundation

In the nomination from Darlene Robke, Ms. Robke said, “She works tirelessly within her own community and in surrounding areas to oversee fundraisers, educational activities, and advocacy events to help educate and empower the public (particularly children and families) about how to make informed water safety choices. Kelly is laser focused and on a mission to prevent drownings. Recent results of her efforts include saving the lives of two young girls on Caswell Beach and a gentleman on Oak Island, NC.”


The St. James Service Club


The Town of St. James

In the nomination from Mayor Jean Toner and the Town said, “During 2022, the SJSC provided direct assistance and volunteer involvement with 32 nonprofits serving Brunswick County. The SJSC supported nonprofits provide services for those most in need of shelter, clothing, nourishment, and medical care. Another focus area of the Club is to enhance the education experience of Brunswick County students” and “the SJSC has a keen interest in helping to preserve the environment and incredible wildlife habitats in Brunswick County.”


Bob Ahlers


Matthew’s Ministry and The Friends of the Oak Island Lighthouse: First time a volunteer received two nominations, from separate entities.

The first person that has received two separate nominations in the same year; this is a testament to the outstanding efforts you are putting forth for your community!  In your first nomination, from Jason Disbrow, regarding your work with Matthew’s Ministry, Honorable Disbrow said, “Bobby Ahlers is the go-to volunteer for Matthew’s Ministry” and “he is Kristie Disbrow’s right hand man and is invaluable to Matthew’s Ministry.”  Additionally, Chief Sam Massey nominated you for your work with the Oak Island Lighthouse and said, “He commits untold hours to educating the public and especially younger generations on the rich history of the lighthouse and the role it still plays in our local culture. Bob is an asset to the Caswell Beach community and deserves recognition for his dedication and hard work.”

Thank you to everyone in Brunswick County who volunteers their time and talents; you are all appreciated!



2023 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards Reception

On Monday, April 17, 2023, the 10 Brunswick County recipients were honored at a reception at the Odell Williamson Event Center at Brunswick Community College. Winners received their certificates from the Governor’s Office as well as a pin. Speakers who shared their appreciation for the volunteers included the Brunswick County Volunteer & Non-Profit Coordinator Leslie Stanley, Brunswick County Board of Commissioners Chairman Randy Thompson, Brunswick County Commissioner Marty Cooke, Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Chism, and Brunswick County Schools Interim Superintendent Les K. Tubb, Col. (Ret.).

Special thanks to South Brunswick High School’s Brunswick Bellas for providing exquisite entertainment as guests arrived. The Brunswick Bellas are an award-winning a capella group comprised of 7 auditioned students from SBHS: Kileigh Caton, Lucy Hedblow, Karly Saterwhite, Mia Sternberg, Maggie Stone, Sevie Varley, and Felicity Wiley (group photo below).


Brunswick County’s 2023 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award Winners

Front Row (left to right): Charles Blackburn, Lucy Williams for St. James Service Club, Christy Judah (Medallion Winner), Cheryl Grahm for St. James Service Club, and Diane Mesaris

Back Row (left to right): Bob Ahlers, Kelly Helbig, Jerry Wolf, Henry Hewett, Chip Presley, and Bob Lafontaine


2023 Governor’s Medallion Award Winner

The Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service was implemented in 2006 to recognize the top 20-25 volunteers in the state. Medallion recipients are nominated at the county level by the county award coordinator. Only one Medallion nomination is permitted per county. A statewide panel reviews and evaluates all these nominations to determine the award recipients.

Above, the Brunswick County Governor’s Medallion Award winner, Christy Judah (center), is pictured with (from left to right) Brunswick County Board of Commissioners Chairman Randy Thompson, Brunswick County Commissioner Pat Sykes, Interim Superintendent of Brunswick County Schools Les K. Tubb, and Brunswick County Commissioner Marty Cooke


Thank you to all the 2023 winners and all those who took the time to nominate someone. Brunswick County is so grateful for the thousands of volunteers who provide countless services to our community each year!




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