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home : news : business July 17, 2019

3/31/2019 3:09:00 PM
GT Announces Community Leadership Award Winner
"Gaston Outside" campaign is this year's recipient
The award will be presented on Tuesday, May 7, at 6 p.m. at the Gaston Country Club in Gastonia. Brigida Mack (left) of WBTV News will return as mistress of ceremonies. Donna Lockett (right) is the Gaston Together Executive Director. 
The award will be presented on Tuesday, May 7, at 6 p.m. at the Gaston Country Club in Gastonia. Brigida Mack (left) of WBTV News will return as mistress of ceremonies. Donna Lockett (right) is the Gaston Together Executive Director. 

Lincoln Herald Staff

GASTONIA, N.C. - Gaston Together recently announced the winner of the 2019 Community Leadership Award.

According to Gaston Together Executive Director Donna Lockett, this year’s recipient of this honor––also known as the Circle of Caring Award, after the sculpture that winners receive––is the Greater Gaston Development Corporation’s “Gaston Outside” campaign. The corporation is known for its positive efforts to improve the lives of everyone countywide and to foster better business conditions and improve Gaston County’s image and public relations with the wider world.

Selection committee chairman Rev. David Christy recently extolled the campaign.

“Gaston Together is proud to honor the Greater Gaston Development Corporation ‘Gaston Outside’ campaign for its multi-year marketing plan to re-brand and celebrate Gaston County as such an amazing place to live, work, play, visit and learn!” he said.

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Christy added that the corporation’s members were able to develop a unique, public-private strategy that fostered broad collaborations in this endeavor. 

“They have touched many lives,” he said, “both inside and outside of Gaston County, with their positive message of charming small towns, plentiful natural resources and industrious people, and they are thus a richly deserving winner of the 2019 Circle of Caring Award.”

The award will be presented on Tuesday, May 7, at 6 p.m. at the Gaston Country Club in Gastonia. Brigida Mack of WBTV News will return as mistress of ceremonies.

Making the award and its presentation event possible is a team effort. This year’s gold-level sponsors are Duke Energy, the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund, Atrium Health and Dominion Energy.

The Community Leadership Award is presented annually to an organization that has made a significant impact to enhance the quality of life in Gaston County. The award recognizes the ideals reflected in Gaston Together’s mission of collaboration and creative problem-solving. Some past winners include the Community Foundation Run Campaign, Gaston Family Health Services, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Gaston and the Carrie E. and Lena V. Glenn Foundation. Last year’s winner was the Rotary Community Garden, which is located on East Franklin Boulevard’s 300 block in downtown Gastonia. 

About the award
Each year, the winner of the Community Leadership Award receives a sculpture commissioned by Gaston Together. This famous sculpture is known as the “Circle of Caring,” an original piece of artwork designed by the late renowned artist, Dr. Graham Weathers. 

Special recognition will also be given this year to the members of HealthNet Gaston for their work to provide comprehensive, affordable health care to low-income, uninsured Gaston County residents. They will be presented with the Circle of Excellence Award.

In addition, Gaston Together’s staffers will celebrate the finalists of their essay contest for local third graders countywide: “The Proudest Kid in Gaston County.” This year’s winner of the essay competition will be announced as well. The contest is open to all third graders in the county in both public and private schools. It was sponsored by the Pearl Dixon Balthis Foundation. 

The essays are written by third graders following their “Pride in Gaston” Traveling Tour field trip, which takes place in the fall of the school year. This year’s tour included visits to Discover You! in Mount Holly, Holy Angels in Belmont and the old County Courthouse at the Gaston County Museum of Art and History in Dallas. The field trip was developed by Gaston Together in order to foster greater community pride for young students. It was designed in partnership with the Gaston County Schools to co-incide with the third grade study of the community.

CaroMont Health served as the 2018 corporate sponsor. Gaston County Travel and Tourism served as the community sponsor. Program partners were Tindol Ford-Lincoln-Subaru, PSNC Energy, Carolina Trust Bank, Watson Insurance, Mann & Hummel and Alliance Bank and Trust. 

Formed in 1997, Gaston Together:  Communities of Excellence is a grassroots, non-profit organization committed to improving community vitality in Gaston County by bringing people and resources together to tackle big community challenges. Its mission is achieved through the principles and best practices of collaboration, facilitation, promotion and the anticipation of possibilities. 

Current initiatives include such community pride-building efforts as the Community Leadership Awards and the “Pride in Gaston” Traveling Tour and its related “Proudest Kid in Gaston County essay contest for third graders. GT also seeks to create a culture of wellness through the Gaston Together Health Care Commission, Healthy Gaston, the Gaston Controlled Substances Coalition and the Health in All Policies. Plus, there are the Gaston Clergy and Citizens Coalition, the MLK Unity Awards and Gaston Vision 2020.

The Community Leadership Awards event is open to the public. For ticket information on the event, please call Gaston Together at (704) 867-9869, ext.110.

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