Governor’s Office honors four from Beaufort County with volunteer service awards

Published 4:47 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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Three Beaufort County citizens were recognized for their volunteer service by the North Carolina Governor’s Office. 


Barbara Jones, Loretta and Raleigh Younger and Kurt Ryan were recognized during the Beaufort County Commissioners meeting on Monday, June 5. Jones and the Youngers were awarded the 2023 Governor’s Service Volunteer Award, but Ryan was awarded the Governor’s Medallion. 


Jessica Burnham, executive director of the Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children and local coordinator for the Governor Service Volunteer Award in Beaufort County presented the awards 


“Our local heroes often go unnoticed as they quietly serve within our communities. Today, we are honored to recognize four of those heroes and to thank them for their tireless efforts that they give each and every day,” Burham said. 


Jones, of Aurora, was recognized for coordinating, helping, and collecting necessary items and resources for community members in need, according to Bunham. She was recognized for her work in writing and distributing an Aurora community newsletter, organizing a veteran’s breakfast and assisting with community parades and Christmas decorations for the town. Her work with local schools and rehabilitating then rehoming stray cats and kittens was also recognized on Monday night by Burnham. 


Loretta and Raleigh Younger, of Pantego, were recognized for their efforts in advocating for senior citizens by providing easier access to healthcare and resources. The Youngers are involved with the Committee on Aging, the Seniors Cares exercise program, the Beaufort County HEAL program and other grassroots initiatives. They give information on healthy eating and active living to marginalized populations, Burnham shared. 


“It’s really a huge honor for me and my husband, Raleigh Younger, because where you see one, the other one is a step behind,” Loretta said. 


Kurt Ryan, of Aurora, was recognized for his contributions to the Aurora community. He “devoted thousands of hours to revive the Aurora-Richlands Township community since his retirement from the Army in June of 2021,” Burham said. 


Ryan has worked with local, state and federal leaders and created multiple citizen-led communities to “identify critical needs” for the Town of Aurora’s first strategic plan, Burnham said. “He is leading and guiding the work that is resulting in visible forward movement,” she shared. 

Ryan’s work also brought forth signage in the town of Aurora that honors local veterans under a local hometown heroes initiative and he assisted with the progression of an industrial park in Aurora and infrastructure improvements as well as improving broadband access for educational and business purposes. Also, Ryan was recognized for his work to clean, paint or clear hurricane damaged structures in the town and encouraging citizens to assist with repairing and replacing equipment at Camp Bodie Sea Base for Boy Scouts.  


“Ryan’s actions continue to embody his life long statement of service before self and has resulted in tangible progress toward the town’s revitalization,” Burnham said. 


Ryan was presented with the Governor’s Medallion for Volunteer Service at the Beaufort County Commissioners meeting, because he was unable to attend a ceremony in Raleigh that is held for Medallion award recipients. 


The Governor Service Volunteer Award is given annually to individuals and groups who complete a copious amount of volunteer hours and considerable effort into the betterment of their communities. The nominations are reviewed on local and state levels then decided by the state. 


The Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service was created in 2006 to highlight the top 20 to 25 volunteers in North Carolina. Nominations are reviewed by a statewide panel.