2017 Human Relations Awards

Epps chosen for Humanitarian of the Year Award

The Wilson Human Relations Commission gave its highest honor to someone who is helping other women escape domestic violence and build new, better lives.

DuWanda S. Epps was presented with the Paul Lee Stevens Humanitarian Award, given annually to those that have given unselfishly to help those of the neediest in our community.

The award was one of several during the 47th Human Relations Awards, held Feb. 24 at the Darden Alumni Center. More than 200 people attended the dinner.

Ms. Epps is the creator of Women Rebuilding & Transforming, a long term program of life coaching services, Human Relations Officer Renee Smith said. The goal is to help women rebuild their lives after being abused, battered or moving out of a shelter to begin a new life.

One of Ms. Epps’ nomination letters said, in part, “in my opinion Ms. Epps has been a humanitarian for a long time … she has shown compassion and touches the lives of the less fortunate … she helps families see there is hope.”

Other nominees were Matt Mercer and Jesse Raudales.

Other 2017 Human Relations Award winners were:

Good Neighbor Award to John Lucas, who organized an effort to repair a neighborhood basketball court at Warren Street Park. When the court reopened, Lucas also organized a “Park Ball Day” in September 2016 that included basketball games between police officers and the youth of the Daniels Hill community.

Other nominees were the B.U.D.S. Foundation, Castonable Hooks, Calvin Jones and the Wilson Dynamic Leadership Class.

Community Spirit Award to the Wilson Luncheon Lions Club, which was honored for several community service projects, including creating the Home Run for Hunger canned food drive supporting all of Wilson’s food pantries after Hurricane Matthew. The club also organized a luncheon in October 2016 for all the county’s first responder agencies.Other nominees were the B.U.D.S. Foundation, Dee’s House, Dong’s Martial Arts School of Wilson and Greenfield School Chick-fil-A Leader Academy.

Inspirational Volunteer Award to Jeremy Munn, who has volunteered with the N.C. Whirligig Festival for several years, coordinated the Whirli-Kidz Zone, and implemented safety protocols for “Lost Parents.”
Other nominees were Alice Browder, Lesia T. Davis, Ruby Gorham, Imani Morgan and evangelist Annie Lou Perry.

Community Initiative Award to Priscilla Morello, who helped establish Seeds of Hope, a family outreach program at Vick Elementary School for students, families and staff. Seeds of Hope includes many workshops and programs throughout the year intended to help students succeed in school and life.
Other nominees were Eric Davis and Tonchelle Renee Lucas.

Youth on the Move Award was given to Hunt High School Air Force JROTC, which volunteers at Special Olympics, the Back to School Fair, the Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day ceremonies, the Christmas Parade, the Whirligig Festival and the SPOT Wrestling Tournament. The group has also sponsored several charitable events for the American Cancer Society and Hurricane Matthew victims.
Other nominees were Breannon Mackenzie Council, Brittany Hinnant, Katherine Ann Taylor, Grayson Johnson Thorne and Ian Thomas Walston.

The nomination period for the 2018 awards will begin in November. Go to WilsonNC.org and search for “humanitarian awards” for more information.