Service Above Self award winners honored for volunteer work

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 15, 2015

Youth and youth groups were honored at the 19th annual Service Above Self awards ceremony. The 225 nominations received represented more than 21,000 hours of volunteer work.

Established in 1995 by Dr. Jim Duncan, the Service Above Self Youth Awards recognize young people for their service to others in the community.

The Rowan Rotary Club, Rowan County United Way, and the Wilson Smith family sponsored the event.

Individual award winners received a medal and Visa gift card. Second runner up received a $50 award, first runner up received a $100 award, and first place received $250. A check for half of their award was presented to the school or organization that nominated them.

Individual winners were:

K-5 category

First place – Casandra White

Casandra gave manicures and pedicures to the homeless, conducted horse rides for 400 children at Prospect Baptist Church’s Trunk or Treat, sold hot dogs at Tractor Supply for her 4-H Club, helped sort papers for the Humane Society, cleaned up a park, served as an extra in the filming of “The Longest Ride” by Nicholas Sparks, assists her teachers with lessons and helped to train Olympic equestrian riders.

First runner-up – Allison Peck

Allison volunteered at a Christmas party for veterans, participated in a shoebox recycling event, collected pop top tabs for Ronald McDonald house, baked cookies for the residents at Yadkin House, volunteered at her church Pumpkin Patch, made posters for her church regarding the dangers of Styrofoam, provided healthy snacks at a community health fair and volunteers regularly at her church as an acolyte.

Second runner-up – Javarea Buggs

Javarea volunteers for Payton’s Promise, an anti-bullying and child abuse program in East Spencer. The children attending the program are all at-risk, 18 and under, and there are approximately 30-50 children in the group. He is in charge of organizing their physical activities, instructing basketball and assisting with homework. He led a book bag collection, helps with serving meals and does numerous other things.

Middle school

First place – Mia Hardin

Through her church, Mia has monitored the bounce house for an event, set up and cleaned up afterwards, served food, created bead crafts for the young children, made cards for children who have cancer, created butterfly mobiles for their hospital rooms while they are receiving treatment, packed boxes for Operation Christmas Child, filled backpacks with food and school supplies for the less fortunate, helped pack food for needy families through Feed America, and is involved with the children’s ministry by volunteering every Saturday.

First runner-up – Trexler Cloninger

Trexler is a member of Scout Troop 350, where he is involved in many activities such as working the drink stand at the Faith 4th of July. He is an acolyte at his church and assists with Bible School, packs boxes for Operation Christmas Child and collects toboggans and socks for the bone marrow and leukemia floors at Baptist Hospital.

Second runner-up – Jude Smeltzer

Jude prepares meals, serves meals and cleans up at Rowan Helping Ministries. In lieu of birthday gifts, he requests donations of food and clothing. He loves the children there and provides toys, books and food for them.

High school

First place – Lindsey Veros

Lindsey developed a diabetes awareness Facebook page titled “Lindsanity”— Crazy for a Cure. She used the page to announce fundraising events as well as important information, held a fundraiser for Juvenile Diabetes through restaurant sales, and sold diabetes merchandise in the lobby and at World Diabetes day. She entered a team in the Juvenile Diabetes Walk, put blue and gray ribbons up in Salisbury the month of November for diabetes awareness and asked officials at her high school to wear blue on Fridays in November. As a newly diagnosed teenager, Lindsey took strides to bring awareness to the community regarding diabetes, its symptoms and dangers.

First runner-up – Caleb Johnson

Caleb organized and led a mission trip through World Vision to Immokalee, Florida. He asked 15 people to join him in his effort to help the impoverished minorities who have crossed the border from Mexico.

Second runner-up – Ronald Robinson

Ronald created a video to increase awareness regarding bullying for Team Goodlife, volunteered over 100 hours with the organization, which he founded himself, and interviewed staff, professionals and students which produced a powerful video that was shared with his school and the community through a story in the Salisbury Post.


Group winners received a $500 contribution to the organization. Second runner up received $50 and first runner up received $100.

The group winners were:


First place – Overton Elementary SGA

This group assisted with a blood drive, raised money for Relay for Life, participated in the White Christmas canned food drive for Salvation Army, collected box tops and labels for items for the battered women’s shelter and Rowan Helping Ministries, volunteered at the Community Care Clinic, ushered at the Norvell Theater, provided cards for the clients at Meals on Wheels and for veterans, donated to Food for Thought and the Christmas Happiness Fund and much more.

First runner-up – DREAM Girls

These girls worked with the Salisbury Parks and Recreation Department on their West End Halloween night, sponsored a car wash to raise money for the Susan G. Komen foundation, set up luminaries for Relay for Life, supported a sock drive for Rowan Helping Ministries and donated baskets of food for needy families at their school.

Second runner-up – Cub Scout Pack 320

This troop helped place flags on the graves of those in the National Cemetery to recognize their military service, participated in a flag retirement ceremony and participated in the Big Sweep at the Yadkin River and at Woodleaf Elementary School.

Middle school

Winner – Corriher-Lipe Beta Club

This group created goodie bags for Teacher Appreciation Week, collected canned goods, clothing and toiletry items for veterans in conjunction with the Landis American Legion Homeless Vet project, raised money for Relay for Life, conducted a food drive for Main Street Mission, participated in South High FFA Day, served as waiters and waitresses for the eighth grade luncheon, and served as greeters for school functions.

First runner-up – West Rowan Middle School Student Council

This student council raised more than $3,000 for Victory Junction, collected Cans for College, which benefitted the Salvation Army and the Back Pack Program, collected stuffed animals for Toys for Tots, sponsored a “crushed cans” event to raise money for the Heart Association, provided monthly teacher appreciation incentives and raised money for “Student Concerns Account” to assist with the purchase of school uniforms.

Second runner-up – Corriher–Lipe Mix It Up Council

This group conducted a canned food drive for Main Street Mission, held a school-wide “Teens for Jeans” collection for homeless teens, sponsored the front hall bulletin board throughout the school year, volunteered at Big Elm Nursing Home, and served as the lead host for Rachel’s Challenge, an anti-bullying program.

High school

Winner – West Rowan JROTC

This group of 60 cadets put in more than 5,100 service hours, volunteered at nursing homes, Rowan Helping Ministries, the Millbridge 5K race and Goodwill, participated in the Adopt-A veteran Program, assisted a Boy Scout with building an obstacle course at the high school, helped with the Eagle Scout Food drive, stored and issued more than 1,000 poinsettias to veterans, planned and conducted a community blood drive, participated in the Adopt-A-Highway program and much more.

First runner-up – North Rowan JROTC

These cadets collected cans for a food drive with the Boy Scouts, assisted with a blood drive, placed U.S. flags on graves at the VA cemetery, assisted high school freshman as they started school, held a Halloween party and Easter egg hunt for small children, taught flag etiquette, assisted with the Cavalier 5K race and served as color guard at all home football and basketball games.

Second runner-up – East Rowan JROTC

The students refurbished a memorial garden area for East Rowan students who have passed away that had fallen in disrepair. They painted rocks and restored lighting to the area.

Schools that submitted numerous quality nominations received a check for $500. The winners were Woodleaf Elementary School, Southeast Middle School and East Rowan High School.