COVE: (left to right) Lumpy Lambert, General Manager of Harrahs
Valley River Casino & Hotel, presents an award to Big
Cove Community members Lavita Hill, Lisa Hardesty, Lester
Hardesty, Cindy West, and Gloria Panther. (Photos courtesy
of rbmcgee portraits)
ASHEVILLE, NC The WNC Honors Awards is built on a 68-year-old
tradition of recognizing rural community development clubs for their
innovative ideas and grassroots solutions. Several communities of
the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians were honored recently by the
organization which covers 15 North Carolina counties and the Tribe.
The Big Cove Community Club and the Big Y Community Club both
received the Communities of Promise award which includes a $1,000
cash award. Winners of this award are chosen because of the initiatives
implemented by the community that show promise and can be replicated
around the region.
Big Cove was honored for working on plans for a new community
center while securing temporary space for community activities and
events to continue over the next year. Several other programs of
note were Big Smiles for Big Cove, an opportunity to educate children
on the importance of proper oral hygiene and their ladies cultural
group keeping Cherokee traditions alive through cooking, sewing,
beading and quilting. In addition, the community stickball team
was celebrated for teaching younger generations this traditional
Y: (left to right) Big Y members, Gage Welch, Trudy Crowe,
Bunsey Crowe, Woochie George, Cindy Crowe, and Reva Brown
are shown being presented their award by Craig DeBrew with
Big Y was recognized for raising grant funds from the Cherokee
Preservation Foundation to purchase a metal building, fencing and
a tractor. The tractor is a significant piece of equipment to increase
their capacity to do backhoe work, snow removal, bush hogging, plowing
community gardens and numerous other tasks. Big Y was also praised
for their youth good grade incentive program, recycling efforts
by giving out home recycling bins on Earth day and collaborating
with other communities to host suppers to feed approximately 200
firefighters battling fires in the area last fall.
Participating Communities receive a cash award of $250 each
for their successful projects implemented during the past year.
Both the Snowbird Community and Towstring received this designation
for the year.
We should all be grateful for the dedication rural communities
put into making the mountains a place we can all be proud to call
home. shared Linda Lamp, WNC Honors Program executive director.
For over 68 years, the WNC Honors program has served as an
inspiration for continuing and replicating community success.
Sponsorships from Harrahs Cherokee Casino Resort, Harrahs
Valley River Casino & Hotel, Biltmore Farms Inc., Duke Energy,
Mission Health, The McClure Fund, First Citizens Bank, Buncombe
County Farm Bureau, Carolina Farm Credit, and Wells Fargo brought
in a record amount of $40,500 to award to the 65 community centers
and clubs in the region.
Community centers and clubs across the mountain region voluntarily
participate in the annual cash awards program by submitting an application
to WNC Communities, a nonprofit dedicated to strategies to improve
rural community life. The 65 communities involved this year represent
over 13,500 volunteers with 173,000 hours in outreach programs dedicated
to education, health, conservation and events highlighting the mountains
great art, craft, and music traditions, as well as collaborative
efforts with government, churches, community colleges, nonprofits
and small businesses. In addition, the collective fundraising efforts
of these communities brought in over $865,000 for everything from
neighbor helping neighbor to food pantries, community gardens, school
supplies, senior meal sites, military honorariums, preserving mountain
heritage and funds dedicated to the upgrades and maintenance of
these rural beacons known as community centers.