Saluting those who give back: Four honored with Governor's Volunteer Service Award

Updated: Apr. 26, 2017 at 12:47 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Three Charlotte-area people and a local business have been honored by the state for the volunteer work they do in the greater Charlotte area. 
The United Way of the Central Carolinas handed out the North Carolina Governor's Volunteer Service Awards at Village Tavern in SouthPark Charlotte Wednesday morning.

The Governor's Volunteer Service Awards have been handed out since 1979 as a way to honor volunteerism and community service.

Recipients of the awards were Tom Medford of Gaston County, Gale Pendergraph of Mecklenburg County, and the company Ingersoll Rand in Charlotte. Cindy Adkins of Iredell County was also awarded the state's Medallion Award which goes to only 20 people every year.

(Read more about each recipient below)

"Today we are saluting people who roll up their sleeves. They do the good deeds and the hard work," said WBTV's Jamie Boll who served as emcee of the event. "They do it, not for the thank you, or because someone is watching, but simply because it is the right thing to do."

Harry Swimmer also congratulated the recipients. Swimmer founded Misty Meadows Mitey Riders more than two decades ago. His family farm in Union County has helped hundreds of special needs children throughout the years through its therapeutic horse riding program. Swimmer held back tears as he described the impact the program has had on the lives of children.

"If everyone would lend a helping hand to those in need we would take a giant step towards a more peaceful world," said Swimmer.

This week is also National Volunteer Week. Hands on Charlotte, the volunteer arm of United Way of Central Carolinas, and Share Charlotte have partnered to celebrate it with "Do Good Week." A city-wide volunteer effort will take place on Saturday morning, April 29th. You can signup to pitch in by going here.

Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved. 

Biographies of the 2017 NC Governor's Volunteer Service Awards  

Tom Medford

Tom has been volunteering with Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden for five years.  He serves as part of their Monday Orchid Conservatory crew, Wednesday Horticulture crew and on Thursday's as a Garden volunteer. Just last year, he volunteered 573 hours which is almost 100 hours more than any other volunteer.  Tom volunteers in the garden three mornings every week but he also helps out with special events like the Father's Day celebration and he engages with all the Garden guests he meets, especially in the Orchid Conservatory. Tom enjoys sharing interesting and fun facts about the hundreds of varieties of tropical plants – like how one orchid plant smells like chocolate! In his five years of volunteering with Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Tom has served more than 2,600 hours. Tom also volunteers with the American Red Cross.  For the past six years, you can find Tom every Monday evening serving as a blood donor volunteer.  In this role, he is responsible for greeting and checking-in blood donors and providing them with snacks and beverages.  Tom has also taught CPR classes and has donated more than 30 gallons of blood to the Red Cross.

Gale Pendergraph

Gale was nominated by Charlotte Douglas International Airport where he serves as a Hospitality Ambassador, the face of the Airport and the City of Charlotte for the past 10 years. Gale welcomes travelers from all over the world and treats each passenger as his own special guest.  During those 10 years, Gale has volunteered 2,777 hours and helped more than 92,000 airport passengers. Thanks to Gale's efforts, the food and beverage concessionaires at the Airport can donate close-dated food to Second Harvest Food Bank. But that's not all this dedicated volunteer does, Gale also volunteers with Second Harvest Food Bank for 5-10 hours each week, is a singer with the Charlotte Symphony, has donated more than 169 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross, volunteers with the Dilworth Neighborhood Association, his church and the Mecklenburg Board of Elections. Gale's nominator describes him as the epitome of the phrase "above and beyond".

Ingersoll Rand

Ingersoll Rand's commitment to the community is deeply ingrained in its culture.  When their volunteers are out in the community they are all in and do everything with 100% dedication and enthusiasm. During the month of October, Ingersoll Rand employees participated in more than 45 service projects with 580 volunteers donating their time, talent and treasure to a wide variety of community activities such as a wheel chair ramp build, serving meals at a shelter, and assembling furniture for those moving from homelessness to their first new home. Ingersoll Rand has a Dollars for Doers program that enables employees to donate $250 to the nonprofit of their choice in exchange for 20 hours of volunteer time.  When they volunteer for a United Partner agency, that amount is doubled so they agency receives $500.  Their Dollars For Doers program also applies to group volunteer projects.  When a group of Ingersoll Rand volunteers collectively give at least 50 hours on one project – that nonprofit is eligible to receive a $1,000 grant. But their efforts don't stop there.  Last year Ingersoll Rand raised 1.55 million for United Way of Central Carolinas.  With their incredible giving ethic, this year Ingersoll Rand will help nearly 300,000 families and individuals in the Charlotte Region.

Cindy Adkins

Cindy volunteers with Hospice & Palliative Care of Iredell County.  Hospice nominated Cindy because of her willingness to provide a wide range of support whenever or wherever needed.  Her main role is with their bereavement program, Rainbow Kidz. She works tirelessly for their Camp Rainbow and the Ride and Run by fundraising and developing crafts.  One year she hand-crafted 780 neck warmers to sell and raise money for Hospice. Cindy is a breast cancer survivor and is very aware of how fragile life is.  She also provides direct care as a compassionate companion, providing respite for the patient's caregiver as well as attending to the needs of patients.  Cindy brings in meals for the families that are afraid to leave their loved one as they are nearing death. She completed her volunteer training in November of 2014 and in 2015, Cindy surpassed the 250 hours needed to qualify for and receive the US Presidential Silver service award for volunteerism.  In the past two years, she has donated 715 volunteer hours.   Hospice says there is only one word to describe her – extraordinary!