By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — It has been said, many times, many ways, that this town has an incredible level of volunteerism.
That showed itself clearly and brightly during the 66th annual Christmas Dinner Monday at The Forks Cafeteria, put on by the Wake Forest Community Council.
Durwood Matheny, Louis Mullinger and others were honored for their indelible and indefatigable service to the town and its residents.
Mullinger, gregarious and always smiling Edward Jones agent, has served on the Trentini Scholarship Board and Fourth of July Committee, spends a lot of time mentoring children at Camp High Hopes and the Y Learning Program, Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones described.
The British born leader is active in Rotary, serving as president of Wake Forest Rotary in 2005 and the Wakefield-Wake Forest Rotary this year. He’s a go-to guy for any Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce event as well, said Jones.
Mullinger was suprised by the honor and only was able to stammer out a thank you and, “I’m speechless.”
Other nominees for the title were noted for their volunteerism as well, including Joann Wooten, Bill and Louise Howard, Ruth Ann Dyer and Greg Harrington.
A man of ‘great humanity’
Matheny was honored with the Peggy Allen Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award is named for the late Peggy Allen, who co-published The Wake Weekly and was known for her own lifelong service to community. She was the first recipient of the award, given posthumously in 2005.
Jones described Matheny’s “countless hours” of service for the Wake Forest Historical Museum, Wake Forest Historical Preservation Commission, Birthplace Society, Wake Forest Historical Association, Koinonia Foundation, Kiwanis Club and “untold acts of kindness to the elderly, poor and infirm.”
“He rescues anyone in need. On one occasion he gave his own shoes he was wearing to a migrant worker because they were the right size for the person in need,” the mayor said. “He goes quietly along revealing his great humanity and his lifelong love of Wake Forest and its people.”
Said Matheny, “We all loved Peggy Allen, so this is very special to me.”
Also considered for the award were Michael Johnson, a former citizen of the year known as a behind-the-scenes catalyst for many initiatives, and Bob Hill, former town commissioner, mayor and current planning board chairman. Both men have made volunteering a second job.
New group cruises in
Johnson, was part of the organization of the year, the Wake Forest Classic and Antique Charity Car Show committee.
Formed this year in part to draw people downtown, the car show, aided by picture-perfect weather, was a smashing success. Cars and lookers-on packed South White Street from Elm to Jones avenues.
The new group raised $10,000 for hospice, the Wake Forest Boys & Girls Club and other charities.
Also considered were Friends of the Library, General James Moore Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Wake Forest Woman’s Club.
The Woman’s Club, Jones noted, “raised and gave away over $12,000 through the over 20 projects and events they support,” this year alone.
The Community Council is comprised of members of other Wake Forest organizations, including the DAR, Purple Heart Foundation, Historical Museum, Historical Association and Rotary Club.
DAR member Carolyn Coordes emceed the event, which included an invocation by the Rev. Dr. Bill Slater, pastor at Wake Forest Baptist Church, a sing along by Lori Eitel and reading of Santa letters from the past by Coordes and Hallie Arrington Hearn.
And Coordes read the classic 1897 New York Sun editorial by Francis Church, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
Guests enjoyed roast beef and turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet tea and desserts such as carrot cake and banana pudding.
In her opening statement, Jones thanked attendees, many whom are members of the organizations mentioned this year and others, or who themselves have earned the recognition of their peers in the past.
“You, all of you, make our community a wonderful place to live,” she said. “Thank you for all the hard work you do over the year to help others and to enrich our town.”