By Tyria Bourda - Staff Writer
Durham, N.C. residents, local officials, pastors, and family and friends gathered at North Carolina Central’s Student Center Hall for The Joseph R. Biden Lifetime Achievement Award and Volunteer Service Award Ceremony.
Lifetime achievement awards recognize the contributions Durham leaders who demonstrate extraordinary leadership and dedication. Furthermore, the awards are presented by various organizations offered on multiple levels and are designed to recognize key milestones of service achievement. Levels include bronze, silver, gold, and the highest honor, the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for those who contribute more than 4,000 hours of service in their lifetime.
This year’s ceremony included 40 community leaders consisting of Former Durham Mayor William Bell, longtime state legislator Mickey Michaux, and Frankie Perry, a longtime banking executive at Wells Fargo and member of ABC11’s Minority Advisory Committee. As well as Bishop Samuel Jones and Mother Regina Jones who has run a mission helping those in need in rural Beaufort County for decades.
Another familiar face from ABC11 was also honored. Shauna Singletary Williams was among the first Black reporters at WTVD when she was hired in the 1970s.
Bell said it was a full circle moment receiving the honor at home.
“You see a lot of people, you go back and think about things that we’ve done together; nobody does this by themselves, and I’ve been fortunate to have the support of the community,” Bell said.
The awards also shine a light on volunteers not always in the spotlight. Bishop Samuel Jones and Mother Regina Jones have run a mission helping those in need in rural Beaufort County for decades. They were over the moon when they found out they were nominated.
“Never thought in a million years that anyone was even paying attention, but we thank God that we were given the opportunity,” Regina Jones said.
Samuel Jones added: “What it does is open up a door for our children to have a desire to start giving and not always receiving. It’s that spirit of helping others that shines brighter than any medal.”