Spirit of giving recognized at B&GH Alumni Reunion

October 29, 2019

Lake Waccamaw, NC – The alumni of Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina gathered to visit and celebrate the special experiences brought to life by the connections formed during their time at the Homes.

As part of the event, three special awards were presented to recognize the spirit of giving demonstrated not only by alumni, but also by staff.

“There were folks who were living with us 24 hours a day,” said B&GH President and alumnus Gary Faircloth. “We started at our last meeting giving out what is known as the ‘Difference Maker Awards’. These are given out to former staff members who the alumni have voted on and decided they were people they would really like to thank for making such a difference in their lives.”

Ian Callahan, a B&GH graduate who currently serves as the Director of Transitional Living, presented the first award to Sam and Christine Woods.

“They worked for Boys and Girls Homes a little over 18 years,” said Callahan. “They were the longest tenured house parents that ever worked here at B&GH. That says a lot about them.”

Callahan lived with the Woods in the cottage for seven years and learned quite a bit about them both during that time and in the time since.

“Sam and Christine both had very promising careers before they decided to come here,” Callahan said. “She was a nurse and he had just left the Navy and was in the beginning stages of computer programming before computer programming was really even a thing. And they left those careers to come here and work with kids like myself. I’m not really sure why they decided to do that at the time, but they did.

“They were the model of consistency,” he continued. “They taught me and many other young men what it was to not only be young men but how it was to have an appropriate relationship with a spouse.”

That model was also demonstrated by the second award recipients, Larry and Debbie Bass. Alumna and Child Advocacy Center Director Jasmine Patrick presented the award to her former house parents.

“You had those kids that needed that extra touch,” Patrick said. “The kids that needed that extra support and you had people like Larry and Debbie Bass who wanted to make sure they made a lasting impact on those kids. They especially wanted to make sure they knew that they were loved. They were cared for and they knew that if anything ever happened they had somebody to lean on. They had somebody to depend on. Larry and Debbie Bass were two of those people.

“They were compassionate,” she continued. “I knew that I could go to them with anything and still can. They mad a lasting impact on my life. They helped mold me into who I am today. It’s people like them who you’ll never forget. They touch your heart in a way that you can’t forget. And now I try to aspire to be like them every day with the children I work with. If it weren’t for people being there for me, I wouldn’t be able to be here for the children today.”

The alumni also recognized one of their own with the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award.

“The people considered for this recognition are people who have been through this program and in their life have been paying it forward and giving it back and making a difference in other people’s lives just like people like Larry and Debbie made a difference in our lives,” said Faircloth. “So they are doing things to change other people’s lives.”

Faircloth shared just some of the accomplishments and charitable acts of award recipient Ted Williams.

“It is always emotional for me to share these things, because of the impact people have,” said Faircloth. “As an adult, he has been truly an inspiration to others in all that he does to give back and pay it forward. He doesn’t do these things for recognition... only to lend a helping hand to make things better for someone else.”

Williams was active while at B&GH in both the choir and in high school athletics including football and track. After graduation, he attended Louisburg College. Williams attends Northwood Assembly Church and currently serves as head usher. He has served on several mission trips including those to Skid Row, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. He hosted a breakfast honoring the Whiteville High School Baseball team for winning the state championship in 2018. He has served as a coach for Whiteville City Youth Baseball and Soccer.

“He has fed the community at his restaurant, Waffle International, during the hurricanes,” said Faircloth. “He volunteers to assist each year with the B&GH Foster Care Christmas party along with his church, providing for a wonderful experience for the foster families.”

Williams was clearly moved by the award.

“I am so thankful for this award,” said Williams. “I do not like to be recognized. I’m just doing it for the people that I try to help. I just love helping people. I’m just trying to give back. I do it all the time and it’s just what I love to do. I don’t like any recognition for it, but I am thankful and honored. I thank God that He’s watched over me all these years and I’m still here and willing and able to help others.”

Williams credits the Homes with his success.

“I came to the Boys Home in 1970. I was in foster homes before that time. It made a big difference in my life. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now. There were six of us kids. Most of my siblings didn’t do as well and I credit my success to the Boys Home. I love this place.”

About Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina

Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina, Inc., has been helping children since 1954. Since then, more than 7,500 children have benefitted from the services of the not-for-profit, 501(c)3 agency. Its mission is to provide a comprehensive array of services for children and youth who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or other family dysfunction. B&GH offers adoption, family and therapeutic foster care, free children’s therapy, as well as residential care on the campus at Lake Waccamaw. The campus features a SACS-accredited school with a middle and high school curriculum, vocational education, recreation facilities, farm, chapel and cottage life. As many as 320 vulnerable children are cared for through the residential, community-based services, and school program provided by B&GH at any given time. B&GH operates its program, services and activities in compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws. B&GH is nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation.