The highlight of the banquet is the presentation of awards to citizens deemed to have had a special impact on their communities during the past year.
Seven Bladen County residents were among those honored from the three counties-Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus.
The Bladen County UNCF Civic Award was presented jointly to Harold Wright, president of the Spaulding-Monroe Alumni Association, and Nadine Bellamy, the association's past president. The association was formed in 1998 to preserve the historic landmark for the community of Bladenboro. The association's efforts resulted in the dedication of the Spaulding Monroe Cultural Center in May 2004.
The Bladen County UNCF Outstanding Educator Award was presented to Linda F. Johnson-Baldwin, principal of Bladen Lakes Primary School. Johnson has received numerous awards during her 26-year career in public education in Bladen County. She has been selected Teacher of the Year three different times and this year was chosen Principal of the Year by her peers in the school district.
The Bladen County UNCF Distinguished Service Award was presented to Carolyn Trumilla McDowell. Over the years, McDowell has worked with the Bladen County Library, Pilot Life Insurance, Bladen Community College, and Bladen County Agricultural Extension Service from which she retired.
She has been deeply involved in the ministries of her church, church association, and General State Convention. She has been a leader in the women's programs of the association and denomination for many years. She also serves as president of the Booker T. Washington Alumni Association.
The Bladen County UNCF Business Leadership Award was presented to Vernon Richardson, a native of the Tar Heel, Tobermory area, where he is a business leader. He is also a leader in Second New Light Missionary Baptist Church.
Lillie A. Singletary of Clarkton, the sixth child in a family of 16 children, was presented the Bladen County UNCF Community Service Award. Singletary has been involved in numerous community and church service projects. Her community activities have included working with the family Alternative Foster Children Program for 18 years, where she fostered 18 or 19 young adults.
During her working career, she spent many years working with severely handicapped children. She is presently an active member and leader in a number of community organizations.
The Bladen County UNCF Service to Mankind Award was presented to William H. Corbett. Over the years, his leadership role in church, community and political organizations have made him a well known figure in his community and the county.