Published On: Thu, Nov 14th, 2013

EBCI communities recognized by WNC Communities

 ASHEVILLE – WNC Communities announced the winners of the 64th Annual Honors Awards Program on Saturday, Nov. 9 as over 260 community leaders from 14 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee were recognized and rewarded for their exceptional community development programs at a luncheon at The Omni Grove Park Inn.

Big Cove Community Members are shown (left to right) - Lavita Lambert, Big Cove Rep. Teresa McCoy, Lester Hardesty, Lisa Hardesty, Jeff Girty, Consie Girty, Totsie Welch, Cindy West and Alice Kekahbah.  They were presented their award by EBCI tribal member Lumpy Lambert, Harrah’s Cherokee vice president of operations.  (Photos courtesy of WNC Communities)

Big Cove Community Members are shown (left to right) – Lavita Lambert, Big Cove Rep. Teresa McCoy, Lester Hardesty, Lisa Hardesty, Jeff Girty, Consie Girty, Totsie Welch, Cindy West and Alice Kekahbah. They were presented their award by EBCI tribal member Lumpy Lambert, Harrah’s Cherokee vice president of operations. (Photos courtesy of rbmcgee portraits)

Generous sponsorships from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, Duke Energy, Mission Health, Buncombe County Farm Bureau, Carolina Farm Credit, First Citizens Bank, HomeTrust Bank, Telco Community Credit Union and Wells Fargo made it possible to award over $33,000 to 62 communities throughout Western North Carolina for their innovative approaches to addressing community needs.

The Big Y Community received the President’s Award for submitting an application for an impressive 50 years to this annual recognition program.

Participating Communities receive a cash award of $300 and Big Y, Paint Town, Tow String, and Yellowhill with the EBCI were each recognized for their successful projects implemented during the past year.

Community of Promise is the second highest honor with a cash award of $1,000.  Big Cove and Snowbird were two of the 16 rural community associations from Western North Carolina to receive this honor.  They were chosen because of the initiatives implemented by the community that show promise and can be replicated around the region.

“We are extremely proud of the work our rural communities put into making Western North Carolina a great place to call home,” shares Linda Lamp, executive director of WNC Communities.  “Big Cove has held this prestigious honor for numerous years, and we are honored to include Snowbird as a Community of Promise for 2013.”

Snowbird Community Members are shown (left to right) - Louise Reed, Dan Rattler, Westin Smoker, Amy Smoker, Tommy Chekelelee, Tevin Smoker, Myrtle Smoker, Josh Turner, Maybelle Welch, Roger Smoker, Alfred Welch, Irene Smoker and Rachel Smoker.  They were also presented their award by Lambert.

Snowbird Community Members are shown (left to right) – Louise Reed, Dan Rattler, Westin Smoker, Amy Smoker, Tommy Chekelelee, Tevin Smoker, Myrtle Smoker, Josh Turner, Maybelle Welch, Roger Smoker, Alfred Welch, Irene Smoker and Rachel Smoker. They were also presented their award by Lambert.

Big Cove, in Swain County, was recognized for the following initiatives: submitting successful legislation to Tribal Council to establish the “Ko-La-Nuh-Ye” overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway; receiving a grant from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation to hold cultural education classes for youth and adults; hosting the 2nd Big Cove Day to celebrate their culture with stickball players, traditional games and craft vendors; working with the Cherokee Runners to bring back the Moccasin Run to their community; and for an estimated 10,000 volunteer hours for their programs and the community labor group.

 Snowbird Community, in Graham County, was recognized for the following initiatives: a complete package on health and wellness with a weight loss challenge, yoga classes and informational sessions on how to remain healthy; their Indian Education Program receiving a grant to hold a summer camp focused on heritage crafts such as beadwork, quilting, river cane mats and dream catchers; teaching youth how to speak the native Cherokee language culminating in a play done entirely in Cherokee; holding the 3rd Annual “Cancer Sucks” Softball Tournament raising$8,500 to benefit five local residents; and developing a new Language Immersion School.

WNC Communities is dedicated to providing a unique forum for leaders in the mountain region to convene, collaborate and carry out innovative programs to improve the quality of life for rural communities and the agriculture sector.  This year marked the 64th 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.

 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

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