Local Youth Ages 4-12 Needed for Competitive Football League

-Information courtesy Tara Goolsby, Henderson-Vance Recreation and Parks Facilities Supervisor, Aycock Recreation Center

The 2019 East Wake Football League is a competitive football league for youth of Vance, Warren, Franklin and Granville counties.

Participants will learn the skills and rules of football. Team tryouts will be conducted and participants will be placed on teams by coaches. In order to be on a team, participating youth must attend tryouts.

Schedules will be developed by the East Wake Football League and games will be played on Saturday afternoons. Participants will travel to local communities to participate in games.

Registration will be held June 3 – August 4, 2019, at the Aycock Recreation Center, 307 Carey Chapel Rd., Henderson.

Cost is $40 for both in and out-of-county participants. Participants may be eligible for the fee waiver program.

Age levels include:

Flag Football – Ages 4 – 6

Mini Mites – Ages 6 – 8

Mighty Mites – Ages 9 – 10

Pee Wee – Ages 11 – 12

Age will be determined as of August 1, 2019.

For more information or to inquire about the fee waiver program, please contact Steve Osborne at (252) 438-2670 ([email protected]) or Victor Hunt at (252) 430-3408 ([email protected]).

State Vet Encourages Livestock Owners to Vaccinate Before Peak Rabies Season

-Press Release, NCDA&CS

Summer is peak rabies season and State Veterinarian Doug Meckes is encouraging North Carolina livestock owners to consider having their animals vaccinated against the disease.

“This year we have seen a rise in the number of reported rabies in livestock at seven cases,” Meckes said. “Last year the state had three cases reported for the entire year. Horses, cattle and goats are naturally curious animals, which puts them at risk for a bite if a rabid animal gets through their fence line.”

Rabies is transmitted primarily in saliva through a bite. Livestock infected with rabies usually appear depressed, have a lack of appetite; difficulty eating, drinking or swallowing; profuse salivation; blindness; head-pressing; circling; vocalization; fever; strained defecation; increased sexual excitement or activity; limp tail, anus, or tongue. Constant yawning, itching or nibbling may be a sign of rabies, too. Rabies can be associated with neurological problems such as incoordination, decreased muscle tone and reflexes, shifting lameness, or partial-to-complete paralysis. Horse owners should be aware that rabies can often mimic symptoms of colic in horses.

The incubation for rabies is between two weeks and six months. Once symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal.

Other ways to protect yourself and animals:

  • Do not feed or attract wildlife to your yard or try to capture wild animals.
  • Call your local animal control if you notice a nocturnal animal out during the day and demonstrating strange behavior such as no fear of humans or aggressive behavior.
  • If you hunt, use gloves while skinning animals, particularly when handling nerve tissue or organs.
  • If you are scratched or come into contact with the saliva of an animal you suspect was rabid, seek medical attention immediately.

Livestock owners should discuss with their veterinarians the risk of rabies in their area and preventive vaccinations.

VGCC Graduates 15 Cadets in 108th Basic Law Enforcement Training Class

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Fifteen cadets graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program at Vance-Granville Community College in a ceremony held May 14 in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus. After passing the state certification exam, all are authorized to work in any law enforcement agency in North Carolina.

Above: On front row, from left: graduates Kevin Allen, Taylor Inscoe, Zachary Long and the college’s interim director of Law Enforcement Training/BLET, Glen Boyd; on second row, from left: graduates Maggie Cabiness, Jonathan Kearney, Jeremy Moore, Zachary Workman and Seth Hodge; and on back row, from left: graduates Gina Chappell, Daniel Allen, Michael Bader, Andrew Spitzer, Jake Coleman, Sabrina Hoyle and Emma Britt. (VGCC Photo)

Honored as members of VGCC’s 108th BLET class were: Emma Carey Britt and Andrew Ronald Spitzer, both of Butner Public Safety; Jeremy Dale Moore and Zachary Lance Workman, both of the Granville County Sheriff’s Office; Jake Matthew Coleman and Sabrina Edward Hoyle, both of the Henderson Police Department; Seth Thomas Hodge of the N.C. Division of Parks & Recreation; Daniel Marquis Allen, Michael James Bader and Gina Christine Chappell, all of the Oxford Police Department; Kevin Ward Allen, Taylor Nicole Inscoe and Zachary Thomas Long, all of the Vance County Sheriff’s Office; Maggie Rena Cabiness and Jonathan Shawn Kearney, both of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

The class was exceptional in at least two major ways. First, all 15 cadets who began the program successfully graduated, marking a rare 100-percent completion rate for the rigorous 16 weeks of training. Second, each member of the class was employed by a law enforcement agency by the day of their graduation.

Speaking as leader of the class, Cadet Seth Hodge thanked all the graduates’ family members and friends in attendance for their support. He added that the class had learned a great deal about teamwork. “We as a group of strangers decided on this path together, and we were tasked to complete our first major hurdle in our careers together,” Hodge said. Learning to trust one another, he said the team had then become a family. “And no matter where our lives take us from here, no matter the badge or uniform we wear, I want you to always remember just what we are: family,” he added.

VGCC Campus Police Chief Sean Newton, representing the program’s many instructors, was chosen by the cadets as the keynote speaker for their graduation. He congratulated the cadets on the completion of “a long, hard journey.”

Newton reminded the new law enforcement professionals that they would be taking an “oath of honor” to uphold and protect the Constitution, their community and their agency.

“The first thing you will uphold is the Constitution,” Newton said. “You’re taking an oath to protect the rights of all people of our state and country: the victims of crimes, the general public, and those accused of crimes. In my opinion, there is no greater responsibility than this.”

Second, they will pledge to uphold their community. “I cannot stress enough how important it is to embrace and include the community in your law enforcement efforts,” Newton said. “We’ve seen a reported breakdown between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Some of it is unfortunately true, while some may be exaggerated by social media or certain biases. Regardless of the reason, we must, as members of the law enforcement community, constantly strive to better these relationships.”

Finally, he said, graduates will swear an oath to the agencies they serve. “I would like to add all law enforcement officers in general to that category,” Newton said. “Always remember, you won’t be the only officer judged by your actions; every other officer in the country will be, too. No other profession is scrutinized as much as law enforcement, and rightfully so.”

The police chief called on graduates to think carefully about the words in their oath and remember them as they start their careers. “How you embrace these words will determine how successful your career will be,” Newton said.

Glen Boyd, interim director of Law Enforcement programs and BLET at VGCC, presented awards to several students. Kevin Allen took home the Academic Achievement Award for having the top grade average in the written tests each cadet must pass. Seth Hodge earned the Physical Fitness Award for scoring highest in the various fitness tests the cadets undergo during physical training. Michael Bader won the “Top Gun” Award for having the highest accuracy score in firearms qualification.

For more information on the BLET program, contact Glen Boyd at [email protected].

VGCC Basic Skills Grads Encouraged to ‘Go Further’

 -Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Graduates of the Adult Basic Skills programs at Vance-Granville Community College received inspirational messages along with their diplomas during commencement exercises on May 2. The students being honored in the Civic Center on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County were among those who have completed either the Adult High School Diploma program or the High School Equivalency program in the past year.

The principal commencement speaker for the ceremony was Rev. Dannie T. Williams, chief of human resources with the Franklin County Schools. “I am one of you,” Williams told the graduates because he completed the GED high school equivalency program himself. The 16th of 18 children, the Franklin County native recalled, “I left the high school arena because I had to go to work to provide for my family.”

Rev. Dannie T. Williams, chief of human resources with Franklin County Schools, served as principal commencement speaker at Vance-Granville Community College’s Basic Skills commencement ceremony on May 2, 2019. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

He added, “There were many who told me that a GED wouldn’t carry you anywhere, that a GED was a dead end. Wrong! This is the beginning for you; it was only the beginning for me.”

Williams advised graduates to be lifelong learners. “Don’t be satisfied with this graduation. Go further and keep moving forward. The world is waiting for what you have to offer,” he told the students. “Education will take you places you never dreamed of.” Recalling that, ironically, his high school counselor did not advise him to go to college, Williams went on to complete multiple college degrees, to work in education and serve on the county school board. Most recently, he has completed all required coursework for his doctoral degree (Ed.D.) and is currently working on his dissertation.

He called upon graduates to “be true to yourselves….love yourselves….recognize, appreciate and develop your unique talents.” He also asked them to pass on encouragement. “Be somebody’s coach,” Williams said. “As you have reached this milestone in your life, reach back to somebody else and say, ‘I’ve done it, you can do it, too.’ Coach them into being in the next graduating class at Vance-Granville Community College.”

Speaking on behalf of the graduating students was Rev. Roberta Egerton of Louisburg. She completed her High School Equivalency earlier this year after attending classes on VGCC’s Franklin County Campus.

“I have been striving for this goal for 30 years, but my family came first and then I became a foster mother,” Egerton told the audience. “Afterward, I had setbacks and sickness but I overcame, and by overcoming, I stand before you today as a proud woman of 76 years old. No matter what life may bring your way, I want you to know that you can overcome any obstacle, because I stand here as a living witness today, saying ‘never give up,’ but continue in your education.”

She is now enrolled in the Nurse Aide program at the college and plans to eventually obtain an Associate’s Degree in Nursing.

“There is nothing impossible if you want to reach your goal,” she advised her fellow graduates. “You have to maintain, to stay focused and be committed. Apply the wisdom and knowledge that you have been taught at VGCC.”

As an extra incentive for graduates to begin their collegiate studies, each received a certificate worth free tuition and fees for one semester of courses in curriculum programs or continuing education courses at VGCC, absorbing costs not covered by federal financial aid.


Keyara Shanell Moncur of Apex;

Carly Jean Minor of Butner;

Tre’Sean Quintez Clark of Chapel Hill;

Mishak Rodriguez Brown, Jr., Tinajha Al’more Davis, Cheyenne S. Days, Davionne Omneatte Dunlap, Donte L. January, Jainay Cishara Richardson, Imani Jabre Staton, Deja Nicole Stokes and Deshawna Shanyah Welcome, all of Charlotte;

Israel Tramell Melvin of Clinton;

Elijah Bowling of Creedmoor;

Kyana Yeshema Humbert and Taneesha Nicole Kirk, both of Fayetteville;

David Nathaniel Dunn, Joseph Thomas Dunn and Ryan C. Morris, all of Franklinton;

Tyequan KyAngelo Davenport of Greensboro;

Dysheka V. Baker of Greenville;

Amber Lynn Abbott, Zermaine Bianca Alston , Jasmine Jeanae Johnson, Alexis Simone Miller, Kaitlyn Ann Parrish, Alicia Monae Pointer and Quaneisha Wortham, all of Henderson;

Ladajah Rashaye Mebane of High Point;

Ty’shon D. Stokes of Hollister;

Aliyah Shonte Cabbagestalk and Amaru M. Golden, both of Hope Mills;

Arkeivious Lavar Alston of Kittrell;

Kera Cherisse Brindle of Lexington;

Trinity Janae Frazier and Karla Rebollar, both of Louisburg;

Paytyn Justice Abbott, Takiera Money Mayo and Jessica Pearson, all of Macon;

Daeaz Jacoby Holloway-Baine of Matthews;

Christian Miguel Avalos, Ivori Samon Christian and Lakeisha Monshe’ Henderson, all of Norlina;

Erin L. Banks, Bailee Michelle Barker, Jazmine Samone Brame, Jacob Lee Edmonson, Michael Austin Skiff and Darian Jaiole Yates, all of Oxford;

Erine Eliel Reed and Samuel Brian Teague, both of Raleigh;

Marcedia Rosand Warren of Roanoke Rapids;

D’Lang Williams of Salisbury;

Taj Andrew Young of Sophia;

Tayla Rae Bowen of Stem;

Joshua Lee Nelson of Thomasville;

Micah Dillon Breeden and Yerania Reyes Novas, both of Wake Forest;

Paige Cheyanne Brown, Tianna Laynia Burt, Enijah Marquel Henderson, Shea’ Moneak Jones, Alicia Lafonda Lewis, Adraya Michelle Lewis Love, Zachary Allyn Sampson, Abigail Loren Short, Anna Townes and Alexis Miracle Young, all of Warrenton;

Jarek Damonte Burwell and Sarah Elizabeth Dale, both of Youngsville;

Michael Lamont Williams of Zebulon.



Autumn Brea Finch – Gilliam of Castalia;

Tony Dale Arnold, Malisa Jensen, Willard Abram Lewis and Hunter Cameron Sparrow, all of Creedmoor;

Araceli Palacios of Durham;

Karena Allen, Kristofer Erak Bryant, Jeremy Croskey and Alyssia Lyn Pugsley, all of Franklinton;

Johnnie Ray Berry, Jr., Desmond Antwann Davis, Rondarious Malick Keith, James Allen Neal, Donnie Ray Travis and Nathan Wills, all of Henderson;

Shakayla Tatiyana Burnett of Kittrell;

Araceli Alejo-Benítez, Linda Lee Crudup, Roberta Flagg Egerton and Kira L. Tant, all of Louisburg;

Lucas Logan Matthews and Kaleigh Yvonne Overby, both of Norlina;

Drew A. Johnson and Cesar Lorenzo Vazquez, both of Oxford;

Jessica Marie King and Joel Wayne Poe, both of Stem;

Mariah Lashelle Alston, Alhaarith Ibn-Faruq Abdul Haqq and Kempton Louise Robertson, all of Warrenton;

Emily Rose Gaeta and Andrew Hillman, both of Youngsville;

Harley Raven Brantley of Zebulon.

Warrenton’s Free Outdoor Movie Series Continues With ‘Creed II’

-Information courtesy the Warrenton Festivals Facebook page

As part of Warrenton’s free outdoor movie series, “Creed II” starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone will be shown in Warrenton’s Historic Courthouse Square, 109 S. Main St., on Saturday, May 25, 2019. The movie will begin at dusk (approximately 8:30 p.m.).

Admission is free; popcorn and various other refreshments will be on sale.

Bring your lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy an evening of family fun.

For additional information, or to view upcoming outdoor movies and Warrenton events, please visit the Warrenton Festival Facebook page by clicking here.

VGCC Pins 2019 Associate Degree Nursing Graduates

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recognized 37 students who graduated this spring from the Associate Degree Nursing program with a pinning ceremony in the college’s Civic Center on May 8.

Among those honored with distinctive nursing pins at the ceremonies were nine who graduated through the LPN to ADN Transition Program, which helps Licensed Practical Nurses to continue their education and then become Registered Nurses. Those graduates were: Lakeisha Scott of Bullock; Catherine Bullock of Butner; Lilian Schleifer of Cary; Christine Atieno of Durham; Frances Beddingfield, Joseane Buckley, Teresa Coley and Wanda Davis, all of Oxford; and Leslie Judd of Raleigh.

Above: members of the 2019 Associate Degree Nursing class at Vance-Granville Community College who received their nursing pins on May 8 included, on front row, from left: Ashton Hobgood, Lakeisha Scott, Rachel Munson, Chelsea Ray; Frances Beddingfield, Emily Padgett and Katie Lee; second row, from left: Michelle Madison, Abigayle Edwards, Rhonda Williamson, Catherine Bullock, Hellen Mbuya, Wanda Davis and Melissa Ramos; third row, from left: Joseane Buckley, Keyona Bullock, Ashley Flynn, Vanna Farrar, Teresa Coley, Tuesday Mathews, Jessica Honhart and Maritza Vazquez; fourth row, from left: Leslie Judd, Phylicia Wimbush, Allison Stell, Shanae Rhoades, Takera Green, Angela Talam and Caitlin Pernell; back row, from left: Kaylin Gibson, Moses Onchonga, Tyler Thorp, Ashley Sawyer, James Temple, Brandon Smith and Christine Atieno; not pictured: Lilian Schleifer. (VGCC Photo)

The graduates who took courses in the traditional five-semester sequence included: Tuesday Mathews of Angier; James Temple and Rhonda Williamson, both of Bullock; Emily Padgett of Butner; Kaylin Gibson of Creedmoor; Takera Green and Moses Onchonga, both of Durham; Vanna Farrar and Ashley Sawyer, both of Franklinton; Katie Lee, Allison Stell, Tyler Thorp and Phylicia Wimbush, all of Henderson;

Keyona Bullock, Jessica Honhart, Rachel Munson, Caitlin Pernell and Chelsea Ray, all of Louisburg;

Ashton Hobgood, Hellen Mbuya and Shanae Rhoades, all of Oxford; Abigayle Edwards, Angela Talam and Maritza Vazquez, all of Raleigh; Michelle Madison of Selma; Ashley Flynn and Brandon Smith, both of Wake Forest; and Melissa Ramos of Warrenton.

Welcoming remarks for the ceremony were offered by Dr. Rachel Desmarais, VGCC President; Dr. Anna Seaman, Associate Degree Nursing Program Head; and Ashton Hobgood, president of the graduating class of 2019.

Academic honors were presented to graduates who completed the program with at least a 3.5 grade point average: Angela Talam, and Tyler Thorp, who was recognized for having the highest GPA in the class.

Cords were presented to students who participated as members of the National Student Nurses Association, which sponsors community service projects and professional development. These students included Bullock, Coley, Davis, Farrar, Flynn, Gibson, Hobgood, Honhart, Mathews, Munson, Padgett, Pernell, Ray, Rhoades, Sawyer, Smith, Stell, Talam and Thorp.

Instructor Brande McIlroy described the significance of the nursing pin. The unique green and gold pin identifies each nurse as a VGCC graduate and indicates that the graduate has the training and competence to serve as a professional nurse. During the ceremony, graduates were pinned by Dr. Anna Seaman and received lamps from instructor Patsy Pegram. Meanwhile, Nursing Department Chair Erica Jastrow read their biographies.

After all graduates had received pins, the lights in the Civic Center were lowered, and instructor Crystal Senter led students in reciting the “Nursing Pledge” by lamplight.

NC Artist to Donate Kerr Lake Prints, Conduct Auction for Fundraiser

-Press Release, Shutter Art Gallery

On Saturday, May 18, 2019, at 6 p.m., Granville County native R F Timberlake will call bids and will auction off two, first edition art prints of Kerr Lake at a fundraiser for the Grassy Creek Community Building.

Myrtle Reams, the coordinator for the fundraiser said, “Frank Timberlake will deliver a double whammy to help out his native Grassy Creek! First, he agreed to be the auctioneer for our fundraising event. Second, and we could hardly believe it, Frank, who I went through school with, agreed to donate two of his Kerr Lake prints that are from a new collection that’s never been seen. He’s putting the new collection of prints together this spring and summer.”

On Saturday, May 18, 2019, at 6 p.m., Granville County native R F Timberlake will call bids and will auction off two, first edition art prints of Kerr Lake at a fundraiser for the Grassy Creek Community Building. (Photo courtesy R F Timberlake and Shutter Art Gallery)

Timberlake, who rarely calls bids anymore, and then only for charities, won the 1990 North Carolina Rookie Auctioneering Championship. The former radio broadcaster turned ad agency executive hails from Stovall and Grassy Creek and operates an almost thirty-year-old advertising and PR firm that is renowned for client success and winning national awards and recognition.

In 2016, after attempting to learn to paint realism and even with advice and help from a famous cousin artist, Timberlake introduced his patented creation of a slightly different art form, PhoArt®.  The term PhoArt® tells the story of the process: taking a photograph in the raw and then turning up some or all of its aspects, and finally running it through proprietary software which Timberlake helped finesse.

“It will be great to spend a few days at home, see a lot of old friends, watch their reactions to some of my new artwork, and then at the auction, to actually pick their pockets for a good cause,” remarked the jovial artist and entrepreneur. The retail value of the two Kerr Lake prints is over $300.

The auction, touted to have something of interest for everyone, will start at the Grassy Creek Community Building at 6 p.m. Hot dogs, BBQ sandwiches, snacks, desserts and soft drinks will be on sale. Assisting Timberlake with auctioneering will be Harry Jones and Marty Ayscue.

Master Gardener Volunteers of Vance & Warren Co. to Hold Open House

-Information courtesy Paul McKenzie, Agricultural Extension Agent, NC Cooperative Extension

The Master Gardener volunteers of Warren and Vance County will hold an Open House on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, at the NC Cooperative Extension office (158 Rafters Lane, Warrenton). Those who are interested in joining the volunteer program are invited to attend.

The Open House will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served and information will be available about the upcoming training program. The training program consists of approximately 40 hours of classes and will be offered on Tuesday mornings beginning in late July.

Upon completion of training, participants are required to contribute 40 hours of volunteer service toward various Master Gardener projects and outreach activities.

For more information about the Open House or the upcoming training class, please contact Paul McKenzie at 252-257-3640 or [email protected].

Make Plans to Attend the Got to Be NC Festival, May 17-19

-Press Release, NCDA&CS

With more than 100 tractors, North Carolina food and beverages, music, a carnival and kids’ activities, the Got to Be NC Festival promises to be a not-to-be-missed event at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, May 17-19, 2019.

“The antique tractor and farm equipment display, featuring a daily tractor parade, and the Food Lion Local Goodness Marketplace are two of the unique highlights of the festival,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We have one of the largest antique tractor displays in the Southeast, and the marketplace features around 80 North Carolina companies offering the opportunity to sample the delicious food and beverage products they offer.”

Hours for the Food Lion Local Goodness Marketplace are Friday from noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $3.

Visitors can see and hear tractors parade around the fairgrounds each day at 1 p.m., with all makes, ages and restorations of tractors featured.

New entertainment this year includes Danny Grant’s Cowboy Circus & The Soap Bubble Circus, both roving grounds acts; and a Feeder Pig display at the Pig Patch Birthing Center. Returning favorites are the racing pigs of the Hogway Speedway, Lauryn Zepeda with Gringo the Trick Pony, Ready, Set, Grow! Agri-tainment Magic Show, the Pig Patch birthing center, Agri-plaza, tractor pulls and the Kidz Corral activity area.

Tractor pull events are planned for Saturday and Sunday. A Kids’ Pedal Tractor Pull will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, with the Antique Tractor Pull later from 2 to 8 p.m. A Garden Tractor and Lawnmower Pull will be held Sunday from 2 to 8 p.m.

The carnival features one price, ride-all-day wristbands on Friday and Sunday. Cost is $20 for wristbands. In addition, a fireworks show will be held Friday and Saturday at 9:15 p.m.

On May 18, the festival will host the Carolina Bluegrass Battle. Traditional and contemporary bluegrass bands will compete for bragging rights and prizes. Also on May 18, the 14th Annual Masonic Carolina Pig Jig BBQ Cook-off will be held, with more than 20 Masonic chapters competing for top honors. At 11 a.m., the event opens to the public for an all-you-care-to-eat barbecue buffet. Guests make their way through the line-up of competition cookers to sample different styles and vote for their favorite. Cost is $15 for adults, $5 for ages 7-10 and free for kids 6 and under. Proceeds from the cookoff benefit the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford.

If you are planning to attend the 2019 State Fair, you can take advantage of the Casey’s Big Ticket Weekend offer and buy 2019 State Fair tickets for 2018 prices. Tickets are being sold at the Waterfall ticket booth. Cost is $8 for adults and $3 for children. Prices at the gate for 2019 will be $13 for adults and $7 for kids.

Festival hours are Friday, May 17, from noon to 10 p.m.; Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission and parking are free. More information is available at www.gottobencfestival.com.

Local Chambers Recognize 2018 Small Business of the Year Recipients

The Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce, along with the Franklin, Granville and Warren County Chambers and the Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center, hosted the seventeenth annual Small Business Luncheon at the Henderson Country Club on Thursday, May 9, 2019.

The 2018 Small Business of the Year award recipients included Holland Industrial, Vance County; US 98.3/Lakes Media LLC, Granville County; Focus Design Builders, Franklin County; and Hardware Café, Warren County.

Holland Industrial receives the 2018 Vance County Small Business of the Year award. Left to right: Patrick Brame, Bobby Powell, Charles “Charlie” Brown and Vanessa Jones, interim president, Henderson-Vance Chamber. (WIZS photo)

Duke Energy was once again the presenting sponsor for this event. Tanya Evans, district manager for Duke Energy, thanked the small business owners and staff members for their contributions to the community and for their level of commitment.

“As a small business owner, you don’t get to turn it off at 5 p.m. and go home. This is a way of life for you and takes dedication and commitment,” Evans said.

Keynote speaker John Alston, owner of A&S Pest Control and winner of the Warren County Chamber’s 2008 Small Business of the Year award, spoke on his 42 years of success as a local small business owner.

“Success is not about how much money you make, it’s about the relationships you form and your enjoyment of the job you are doing,” Alston explained.

Alston said he felt blessed to have started a company that allows him to do what he enjoys while also providing financially for other families.

After hearing from Alston, Vanessa Jones, interim president of the Henderson-Vance Chamber, presented the 2018 Vance County award to electric motor and mechanical repair facility Holland Industrial.

Focus Design Builders receives the 2018 Greater Franklin County Small Business of the Year award. Left to right: Jonathan Williams, Paul Eitel and John Barnes, executive director, Greater Franklin Chamber. (WIZS photo)

Located on West Montgomery Street in Henderson, the “employee-owned” company was started by Charles S. Holland, Sr. in 1952 and has expanded to include 35 employees and a 150-mile sales territory today.

Now in its third generation of management, Holland President Charles “Charlie” Brown thanked the Chamber for their support and said he hopes Holland will be around to celebrate their 100th anniversary in a few decades.

John Barnes, executive director for the Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, presented the Franklin County award to Focus Design Builders, a construction-based company offering a single point of contact for design and construction services.

Founded in 2010 during an ebb in the construction industry, CEO Paul Eitel said it was faith that prompted him and his two business partners to start a construction business.

Three months into the business with $8 million in sales, Eitel said that faith paid off. The company now estimates 300-400 families benefit from the revenue generated by their small business alone.

Jonathan Williams, project developer for Focus Design Builders, also mentioned the education he received at Vance-Granville Community College before transferring to a four-year university.

US 98.3/Lakes Media LLC receives the 2018 Franklin County Small Business of the Year award. Left to right: Aurora Birch, Tom Birch and Sandra Dean Pruitt, president of Granville Insurance Agency. (WIZS Photo)

“I’m proof that you can receive a quality education here locally,” Williams said in support of VGCC.

Granville County’s award recipient, US 98.3/Lakes Media LLC was presented their award by Sandra Dean Pruitt, president of Granville Insurance Agency.

Tom Birch, president, accepted the award on behalf of the organization. Launched in Oxford in 2005 and expanding to South Boston in 2006, Birch said the station has approximately 45,000 listeners today.

Birch also proclaimed that “radio is alive and well” and is still the most effective medium of all reach platforms, including television, in the constantly-evolving communications game.

Warren County Chamber Chair Kathleen Derring presented the Warren County award to Hardware Café manager Haley Paynter.

Hardware Cafe receives the 2018 Warren County Small Business of the Year award. Left to right: Haley Paynter and Kathleen Derring, chair of Warren Chamber. (WIZS Photo).

Located in downtown Warrenton, the previous hardware store, now affectionately known by locals as the “red and black” café, has quite the history, including a recent change in management with Paynter at the helm.

Derring said this award was “a long time coming” for the Hardware Café and explained that as a small business owner herself, she knew that loving what you do is essential for success.

Held in conjunction with National Small Business Week, the annual luncheon highlighted and supported what Henderson-Vance Chamber Chair Nancy Wykle referred to as “the backbone of our community and our economy both nationally and locally, small business.”