Commissioners recognize volunteers, Young Professionals, Salisbury basketball team

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 19, 2023

SALISBURY – Monday night’s Rowan County Board of Commissioners meeting started off with a packed chamber as residents came out to see the commissioners honor and recognize three groups for achievements.

To start, the commissioners recognized four residents who were recipients of the 2023 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award, which “honors the true spirit of volunteerism by recognizing individuals and groups that make a significant contribution to their community through volunteer service,” according to the award’s website.

Those who received the award were Shannon Corriher, Ric Hodge, Matt Marsh and Patricia “P.J.” Ricks.

For the past six years, Corriher has volunteered with the American Red Cross Disaster Services, responding to families affected by fire disasters. He partners with Rowan county fire departments to install smoke alarms and educates families about fire safety and other weather-related threats. Corriher clocked in 297 hours volunteering in 2022 working as a disaster action team supervisor, engagement mentor and community preparedness educator.

Hodge dedicates his time to volunteer for Rowan Helping Ministries where, although he is just a volunteer, he has a workspace known as “Ric’s Office” because of the hours he puts in for the administration team and helping with fundraising events. He also assists the Rowan Helping Ministries’ resource development team with data entry, mailings and other projects.

Marsh also volunteers for Rowan Helping Ministries, serving as the board’s vice chair, facilitating meals provided to families who are temporarily living at Hood Seminary and working shifts for the warming shelter. He also has hosted the Salisbury Rowan Runners Resolution Run and hosted a holiday fundraiser at his house. Marsh also serves as the chair of the resource development committee and works on the Miracles on the Horizon Capital Campaign Committee, a transitional housing program.

Ricks, another volunteer with Rowan Helping Ministries, has worked in various leadership roles for over a decade. She started a Health and Hope class in 2011, offering those staying in the shelter opportunities to learn about community resources, discuss the challenges of life and examine  current issues. She also began a weekly New Tomorrows class, providing advisory council for shelter guests and inviting guests to speak. She also serves on Rowan Helping Ministries board of directors and on the program services committee.

“When you get behind the scenes in county work, you really see the difference that volunteers make, so thank you very much,” said Commissioner Greg Edds after honoring each of the recipients.

Young Professionals

The next group the commissioners recognized was the Rowan County Young Professionals, a program started by the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. The program is a networking group for professionals between the ages of 21 and 45. The Young Professional Facebook group currently has a roster of 448 members. There are multiple events and mixers hosted throughout the year for members and those interested in becoming a member to attend.

To celebrate the program and the young professionals who make it possible, the commissioners read a proclamation declaring 2023 as “The Year of the Young Professional.”

“The Chairman and Board of Commissioners of the County of Rowan, firmly and unanimously adopt this proclamation recognizing “THE YEAR OF THE YOUNG PROFESSIONAL” in Rowan County, North Carolina for the year of 2023 and encourages all citizens to participate in activities and programs presented by the Rowan Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals program,” the proclamation reads.

Mollie Ruf, a member of the program and the first ever winner of the Young Professional of the Year award presented at the Rowan Chamber’s 97th Annual Meeting, announced to the room that another member, Gemale Black, made the list for the Charlotte Business Journal’s annual 40 under 40 list, which celebrates workers under the age of 40 who have made an impact in their community. Black is currently the president of the Salisbury-Rowan Chapter of the NAACP.

Salisbury High School Girls Basketball Team 

The last group to be recognized was the Salisbury High School girls basketball team, the winners of the 2023 North Carolina 2A state championship. The 26-3 Hornets defeated Seaforth High School, out of Chatham County, at Chapel Hill’s Dean Smith Center back in March, winning the school’s sixth state championship and doing it back to back as they won the championship in 2022 as well.

Commissioner Jim Greene invited head coach, Lakia Brice, to the front of the room as the commissioners read a proclamation recognizing her and her players for their achievement.

“I doubt that there is anybody in this room who hasn’t heard of these girls before,” Greene said. “We are fortunate enough to have the girls basketball state champions of 2022, though we’ve already celebrated that, and they won it again this year 2023.”

After the proclamation, Brice brought up her assistant coaches and called each player to the front of the room individually as applause filled the chamber.