Rowan County United Way honored at ‘Spirit of North Carolina’ gathering

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 5, 2023

MOORESVILLE — Several Rowan County citizens and organizations were honored Wednesday for their philanthropic efforts at the 2022 Spirit of North Carolina Awards held at the Charles Mack Citizen Center.

The Spirit of North Carolina Award offers United Ways in NC communities an opportunity to honor organizations and individuals who exemplify the “spirit” of their community. Winners meet specific standards of achievement and are nominated by their local United Ways. United Way of North Carolina leads the nomination process and presents the awards annually.

Jessica Garner, administrative assistant of operations at New York Air Brake, accepted her organization’s award in the Impactful and Engaging Campaign Activity category. In addition to employee meetings, New York Air Brake energized employees through Halloween, football and autumn themed raffles to incentivize giving and engagement. This helped them to raise $16,409 which was an increase of $3,591 from their previous campaign. Garner led the campaign and directed employees to local agencies and NC 211 during times of need.

“We are honored to have New York Air Brake as a key stakeholder for a shared future where every Rowan County citizen thrives and reaches their full potential,” says Audrey Eudy, philanthropy director at Rowan County United Way.

Judy Klusman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners and Desiree Dunston from Novant Health were awarded in the United Way Community Ambassador category. Both are leaders in the development of the Rowan County Diversion Center, an effort led by Rowan County United Way. The center is planned to be a safe and healthy, single point of entry and assessment where Rowan County can divert individuals facing behavioral health issues from local Emergency Department and Judicial Systems.

Courtney Meece, executive director of Healthy Rowan, and Alyssa Harris, director of Rowan County Public Health Department, accepted Healthy Rowan’s award in the Crisis Control and Community Resilience category. To encourage physical activity after the COVID-19 pandemic, their organization developed Rowan Moves, a free online community-wide physical activity campaign. They also created the Mobile Food Pharmacy, which uses food as medicine to help families buy and make healthier meals at home.

Micah Ennis, director of Department of Social Services, was also selected as a winner in the United Way Community Ambassador category. In 2021, she received Rowan County United Way’s Helping Hand Award for her efforts as a company campaign chair and currently serves on the United Way board and is a committee member for their Into The Light Suicide & Mental Health Awareness Walk. In 2022, she passionately led their fall campaign, raising more than $1.3 million.

“The Spirit of North Carolina Award shines a light on our incredible partners, who are supporting our work and helping us achieve our goals,” says Jenny Lee, Executive Director of Rowan County United Way. “Congratulations to all the winners who have collectively made a huge impact in the lives of our neighbors.”

For more information about Rowan County United Way, visit or call 704-633-1802.