Garner named RCC Foundation Citizen of the Year

HAMLET — Richmond County Commission Vice Chairman John Garner was recognized Monday night as the Richmond Community College Foundation’s Citizen of the Year.

Richmond County Commission Vice Chairman John Garner, second from right, is presented the Richmond Community College Foundation Citizen of the Year plaque by Foundation President Lee Howell, far right. Also shown, from left, is RCC Foundation Executive Director Olivia Webb, RCC President Dr. Dale McInnis and RCC Foundation Past President GR Kindley.

Richmond County Commission Vice Chairman John Garner, second from right, is presented the Richmond Community College Foundation Citizen of the Year plaque by Foundation President Lee Howell, far right. Also shown, from left, is RCC Foundation Executive Director Olivia Webb, RCC President Dr. Dale McInnis and RCC Foundation Past President GR Kindley.

Owner and operator of Convenience Corner in Hamlet, Garner has been an active member of the RCC Foundation for 20 years, serving in every capacity on the board of directors, including president. He recently served on a steering committee for the Forte Building expansion project and is currently on the Foundation Board’s executive committee.

“John has provided the college with his time, financial support and leadership at every opportunity,” G.R. Kindley, a past RCC Foundation president, said in presenting the award. “John is a pillar of our community, generously providing support to all causes and groups in need.”

Garner is a member and has served as president of the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, as well as been a member and former chairman of the Hamlet Hospital Board of Directors. He has served as a county commissioner since 1996 and has been vice chairman since 2000.

He was on the board of directors at Richmond County Bank, UCB and currently serves on the board for BB&T in Hamlet. He is a member of the Hamlet Downtown Business Association and an active member and elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Hamlet.

He is also a tireless supporter of youth and high school athletics in Richmond County, as well as a campaign cabinet member for Discovery Place KIDS in Rockingham and sponsor of the build-your-own racecar exhibit.

Garner’s son, Brent, also spoke at Monday’s ceremony, providing insight into his father.

“For those of you here tonight who know my father’s dad died when John was 3 years old, and that my dad grew up in a small house with an outhouse on a dirt road off of a dirt road, it would be easy to tell you a story about how he’s a man who pulled himself up by his boot straps and made his own way,” said Brent. “But many of you don’t know, or won’t remember, that when Daddy first opened his store, he couldn’t even afford a biscuit oven. His mama would actually cook the biscuits at her house and keep bringing them to the store for him to sell.

“So while my dad is by definition what many call a self-made man, he’d be the first to tell you there is no such thing because everyone has to rely on support from their family and friends at some point.”

Upon receiving his award, Garner validated his son’s remarks by promoting the RCC Foundation’s Working Scholarship, which was created last year to assist RCC students working to pay their own way through college who do not qualify for federal financial aid.

“Tonight shouldn’t be just about me. It should be about those who have helped me along the way,” said Garner, who specifically singled out his wife, Kathryn; son, Brent; daughter-in-law, Leslie; business partner, Jack Swink; and longtime employee, Tim Rainwater.

“Along the way, everyone has to have some help. And life is like agriculture, in that what you take away, you ought to give back,” Garner said. “I strongly encourage everyone here to also give back by contributing to the Foundation’s Working Scholarship.”

Working Scholarship

Foundation Executive Director Olivia Webb said the Working Scholarship is the RCC Foundation’s response to learning that many working students and families were being denied full state and federal financial aid options because they were earning a living.

“We saw students who, in essence, were being punished for working because they were making too much money to qualify for financial aid. But they couldn’t quit working because they were having to support a family, as well as try to get an education,” said Dr. Dale McInnis, RCC president.

“For these students, the Foundation offers hope, incentive and motivation to keep working in and out of the classroom,” said Webb. “Thanks to funds raised during RCC’s 50th Anniversary Gala and subsequent donations from local individuals and businesses, plus a $5,000 matching grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, we were able to help 33 students this semester.”

Awards range from $250 to $500 per semester, but that amount is expected to grow.

“We are projecting revenues for spring that will allow us to renew scholarships for the 33 students that we are currently helping, plus take on new applicants,” said Webb.

At least 200 students have been identified who meet the academic and financial criteria to receive the Working Scholarship.

“You haven’t been touched until you see students who are running from the parking lot with their books in hand to a classroom still wearing their work uniforms,” said McInnis. “Those are the individuals we are helping through our Working Scholarships, individuals who are doing all they can already to help themselves.”

More information about RCC’s Working Scholarship, as well as information about how to make a donation to the worthwhile cause, may be found at www.richmondcc.edu or by calling the College at 910-

410-1700.

Filed in: Education, Hamlet, Latest Headlines, News

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