United Way of Central Carolinas celebrated local volunteers whose good work helps improve the community during the United Way Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast, presented by TIAA, on Wednesday, April 10, at LaCa Projects in Charlotte.


More than 35 individuals and groups were recognized for their efforts that have touched the lives of children and families across the Charlotte region. In addition to honoring those who donate their time and talent to United Way and through United Way’s programming, the annual Governor’s Volunteer Services Awards were presented, including two Medallion Award winners.


“We think it’s important to shine a light on the caring people and acts that sometimes go unrecognized,” said Laura Clark, United Way president and CEO. “Volunteers are working every day across our region to serve others and they seek nothing in return. It’s our responsibility to say thank you on behalf of our community.”


The recognition breakfast is part of United Way Volunteer Week, presented to the community by Wells Fargo and in conjunction with National Volunteer Week. The week‐long celebration of service includes the annual Charlotte Playground Build (April 5), the #Time4Good Volunteer Fair (April 10) and the annual Hands On Charlotte Day (April 13).


Special award winners:


  • LIVE UNITED Volunteer of the Year Brandon Neal (Wells Fargo)
  • Hands On Award Emily Bay
  • LIVE UNITED Corporate Champion Duke Energy
  • LIVE UNITED Community Champion Charlotte‐Mecklenburg Schools


The Governor’s Volunteer Service Award annually honors the spirit of volunteerism by recognizing individuals, groups and businesses that make a significant contribution through volunteer service. Each winner has been commended for their selfless service in improving the conditions within our community.


This year’s Governor’s Volunteer Service Award winners:


  • Douglas Armstrong | Community Shelter of Union County
  • Dr. Edward Bower | Union/Anson Habitat for Humanity
  • Sarah Degnan | Duke Energy Foundation
  • Elizabeth Fulk | The Prodigal Son Foundation
  • Bill Gruebmeyer | Habitat for Humanity Charlotte




  • Bill & Mary Hurt | HealthReach
  • Paula McGroarty | Ada Jenkins Center
  • Mark Murphy | Concord High School
  • Marlene Pecka | Ada Jenkins Center
  • Cori Ray | CrossRoads
  • Leslie Rink | United Way of Central Carolinas
  • Colby Spivey | The Arc
  • John Tate | Habitat for Humanity Charlotte
  • Craig Turza | Community Shelter of Union County
  • Kevin Wright | Freedom School Partners
  • Bank of America (Habitat for Humanity Charlotte Construction Crew)
  • Habitat for Humanity Charlotte’s Woodshop Crew
  • Kingdom Citizens Outreach Ministry


In addition, two winners received the Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service, which recognizes the top 25 volunteers throughout North Carolina each year. A statewide panel reviews and evaluates nominations to determine the award recipients. The Medallion Award recipients will be invited to attend an annual recognition ceremony in Raleigh.

Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service winners:


  • Dr. Edward Bower
  • Bill & Mary Hurt


Volunteers play a significant role in United Way’s work. More than 15,600 volunteers served a total of 55,802 hours through United Way last year, including 536 of which served on boards, committees, cabinets and councils. Those volunteers in total generated an impact of $1,377,751 in the community.


United Way offers flexible volunteer opportunities for companies, individuals, and families throughout the year, connecting them with service projects that have meaningful impact in and around the Charlotte area.