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Commission honors Skinner, volunteers at annual banquet

Post Date:02/25/2019 10:56 AM

The Wilson Human Relations Commission gave its highest honor Friday night to a man with four decades of experience helping the community.

Henry Skinner 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.

Wilson Human Relations Director Renee Smith said Skinner was described in his nomination letters as someone who “has a heart that beats for those who have somehow been left behind.”

Skinner has been actively volunteering in the community since his early days as an Eagle Scout. He had been a member of the Wilson Lions Club for 40 years and volunteers with Hope Station, Vidant Health and First Baptist Church, among other organizations.

Barbara Blackston, the executive director of Wilson Community Improvement Association, was also nominated for the humanitarian award. Her nomination noted her long record of working for social justice and work with Perry’s Temple Full Gospel OFWB Church.

The award was one of several during the 48th Human Relations Awards, held Friday, Feb. 22, at the Darden Alumni Center. More than 200 people attended the dinner.

Other winners were:

  • Good Neighbor Award to Carla Hinnant, who has chaired the Resident Council Committee in her neighborhood for five years. She organizes programs to improve the quality of life of residents and to educate residents about safety, health and economics. Other nominees were Linda Faye Bynum, John Lucas, La-Tonya Manning, Annie Ricks and Pastor Freddie Williams.
  • The Community Spirit Award to the Wilson Police Athletic League, a nonprofit organized by police officers to engage youth and improve their quality of life. PAL operates 16 individual sports camps throughout the year, operates four mentorship programs, runs a wrestling club, and recently obtained a 30-foor mobile kitchen to assist in emergencies and at community events. Other nominees were Outreach Center, Resident Council Committee, Wilson Police Gang Unit and Wilson Extension Master Gardeners.
  • Inspirational Volunteer Award to Cathy McNeely, a ‘volunteer’ with the Veteran's Residential Services for four years, who often is in the office as much as full-time employees and is critical to organizing donations and assisting with fundraisers. Other nominees were Leslie T. Atkinson, Bryant Bunn, Cody Courtright, Kevin Lofton, Cynthia Nelson, Mesha Strickland, Marvin and Candy Taylor, and Aunika Webb-Coley.
  • Community Initiative Award to Ronnie Dew, who worked to connect the local Hunters for the Hungry group with a meat processing plant in Sims. The partnership had led to the delivery of more than 10,000 pounds of deer meet to local non-profit organizations. Other nominees were Ruby “Yolanda” Freeman, Dr. Rusty Russell, and Team Power Foundations, Inc.
  • Youth on the Move Award was given to Chibby Warren, a senior at Fike High School who co-founded the Prevent T2 Diabetes Prevention Program that connects a local pharmacy with underprivileged in the community. Other nominees were the Brunson family, Health Club of Fike High School, Edwards De Leon Garcia, Sadie Page, Cody Miller, Miguel Hernandez Romero, Jackson Stone and Jordan Warren.


The nomination period for the 2020 awards will begin in November. Go to and search for “humanitarian awards” for more information.

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