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The Daily Tar Heel

9 Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents named 'town treasures'

2016 Town Treasures Recipients
2016 Town Treasures Recipients

The Chapel Hill Historical Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary and has been honoring Town Treasures since 2008.

“We honor all of our citizens, of course, in Chapel Hill, but ‘treasures’ are people who are special to us,” said Sarah Geer, president of the Chapel Hill Historical Society, “They have a long tradition of giving and being involved in the community.”

This year, Pam Hemminger, mayor of Chapel Hill and Lydia Lavelle, mayor of Carrboro, presented the awards to their respective town citizens.

Hemminger presented awards to Lula Alston, Shirley and Marvin Block, Woody Durham, Henry Jones, Gordon Neville and Lisa Price. Lavelle honored George Lensing and Peggy Misch.

“It’s my privilege to be here as a part of this celebration to help introduce some of the accomplishments of our Town Treasures,” Hemminger said.

Alston was honored for her work with UNC Hospitals since 1968 and Chapel Hill Second Baptist Church since 1954. She is a member of numerous community organizations including the North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Shirley and Marvin Block were honored for Shirley’s work with the Carolina Friends Lower School, the Cedars Scholarship Committee and PORCH for hunger relief and Marvin’s work with Senior Centers of Chapel Hill and service as chairperson of the Human Services Commission of Orange County.

Hemminger said the Blocks, who have been married for 67 years, were founding members of the Kehillah Synagogue, now consisting of 160 members and a five-star preschool.

Woody Durham, radio announcer for Tar Heel Sports Network, was honored for his work with the network and service as honorary chairperson of the campaign for the Chapel Hill Ronald McDonald House.

He said he was flattered to receive the award because it is unrelated to sports, as many of his previous awards are sports specific.

Henry Jones, a military veteran, was presented an award for his establishment of the Jones Funeral Home in Chapel Hill in 1982 and was previously awarded a James Brittian award by the NAACP.

George Lensing served as a member of the Board of Interchurch Council Housing Corporation since 1996 while working at the UNC Department of English. In 2011, he oversaw a complete renovation of the Interchurch Council Housing Corporation affordable housing units in Chapel Hill.

Peggy Misch was honored for her extensive work in a large number of community organizations committed to free-speech and social justice. Organizations include the Orange County Bill of Rights Defense Committee and North Carolina Stop Torture Now, among others.

Gordon Neville was awarded for his activism in preserving the rights for rural North Carolinians and his work with Antioch Baptist Church. He was as a board member of the Orange-Durham Cattlemen’s Association for 23 years.

Lisa Price of Carrboro was honored for her dedication to the Orange County Democratic Party, Chapel Hill Public Library and her formation of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, one of the few remaining gun violence prevention organizations in the South.

The ceremony was followed with a catered reception.


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