ASHEVILLE – WNC Communities announced the winners of the 63rd Annual Honors Awards Program at a luncheon held at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Asheville on Saturday, Nov. 17 with over 200 community leaders from 14 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee to recognize and reward exceptional community development programs across the mountains.
This year marked the 63rd WNC Honors Awards, a program built on the tradition of recognizing achievements in communities for their work on behalf of their residents. The awards are designed to serve as an inspiration for replicating community success. Community programs range from addressing basic needs such as a food pantry, an emergency shelter, thrift stores, or litter sweeps to significant programs focused on education, heritage, economic development, farmland preservation or health and wellness.
“Communities of Promise” are given cash awards of $1,000 to continue their fine work on community initiatives. Big Cove Community in Swain County was recognized for sharing information and discussing key issues such as community watch, a domestic violence program, a proposed water park in the downtown area, problems with the local and county DSS, the development of a Cherokee Constitution and the alcohol referendum. Several of these meetings that impacted the entire tribe were taped and played on the Cherokee Cablevision Channel 28. Big Cove was honored for their work on community property to plant vegetables to harvest and distribute to seniors and handicapped residents, as well as the financial support to ensure the success of this project. In addition, their community hosted their first Big Cove Day to celebrate their community and culture with stickball players, traditional games, craft vendors, silent auction and a potluck supper.
“Participating Communities” received a cash award of $250 each and are recognized for their successful projects implemented during the past year. Painttown, Snowbird, Towstring and Yellowhill were the communities with the EBCI that received this honor.
“We are honored to recognize community development clubs for their innovative programs and hard work.” shared Linda Lamp, Executive Director of WNC Communities. “These groups are the key to successful rural life in our mountains and will be for many years to come.”
Generous sponsorships from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel, Mission Health Systems, Buncombe County Farm Bureau, Carolina Farm Credit, Duke Energy, First Citizens Bank, HomeTrust Bank, and Wells Fargo made it possible to award over $28,000 to 61 communities throughout Western North Carolina for their innovative approaches to addressing community needs.
Communities voluntarily participate in the WNC Honors Awards Program by submitting an application to WNC Communities in September. Communities are judged on projects, fund raising efforts, collaboration with local organizations or businesses, economic development and sustainability, as well as their community future and vision.
– WNC Communities