Smith shares prize with Eagle’s Wings

Published 12:54 am Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Eagle’s Wings’ Warehouse Manager Sam Fulmer (left) speaks with Zach Smith in the warehouse after Smith presented the charity with a check for $1,000. Smith received the check from Wells Fargo as recognition for being named the 2011 Wells Fargo Volunteer of the Year. (WDN Photo/Sara Cowell)

Washington native brings award funds home to help needy of Beaufort County

Washington native Zach Smith has moved up in the world, but not so far that he’s forgotten the needs of some people in his hometown.

Now an employee of a banking and financial services company and a resident of St. Louis, Mo., Smith recently received the Volunteer of the Year Award from his employer, Wells Fargo.

Smith chose to give the $1,000 that came with his award to a Washington charity – Eagle’s Wings, a nonprofit food pantry located at 932 W. Third St.
Eagle’s Wings helps feed hundreds of the area’s needy families and individuals.

Smith could have given the money to a charity in St. Louis, but opted to reach back to his roots.

“I knew that the need here in Beaufort County, and through Eagle’s Wings, was also significant, and I thought it was a good way to give back to the community that I grew up in,” he said.

This need is highlighted by stark statistics: Beaufort County has a high poverty level, and is rated as an economically distressed county by the state of North Carolina, he pointed out.

“I think the work they do is great for Beaufort County,” Smith said of Eagle’s Wings.

Wells Fargo annually recognizes volunteers in communities across the United States, he explained. Smith’s manager nominated him for the Volunteer of the Year Award, knowing he puts a great deal of work into volunteer activities in St. Louis, Smith said.

“The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes Wells Fargo team members for their commitment to make our communities a better place to live and work,” reads a June 29 letter from Melissa Buchanan, national volunteerism manager with Wells Fargo’s Social Responsibility Group, to Sally Love, executive director of Eagle’s Wings.

“Strengthening our communities is an integral part of Wells Fargo’s Vision and Values,” Buchanan continued. “Our team members play a critical role in our success through their volunteer efforts.”

Smith is a graduate of Washington High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and received his master’s degree in business administration from East Carolina University.

Smith’s donation drew plaudits from Lillian Jones, office manager of Eagle’s Wings.

“We are absolutely thrilled that he chose us to receive that money,” Jones remarked. “It was a very distinguished honor for him, and for him to pass that on to us was just fantastic. It certainly will be put to good use.”

People who wish to donate money to Eagle’s Wings may send checks made out to the organization to P.O. Box 426, Washington  NC 27889.

Smith’s parents are Russell and Denice Smith of Washington.

Russell Smith serves on Eagle’s Wings’ board.

“I’m very proud of him,” the father said. “He called me up right out of the gate and told me he had won this award.”

The son soon added he would elect to pass the award money on to Eagle’s Wings.