2016 Outstanding Volunteers

Youth Citizen Volunteer Category

Justice Church – 4-H/Human Services
Justice and her brother were the first participants in the Parrish Manor 4-H Bicyclery Program, which serves to recycle and repair bicycles that are then donated to families in the Parrish Manor Community. For five years, Justice has been instrumental in growing the program and recruiting other kids to participate in repairing and distributing the bicycles. Despite juggling a full course load and serving as Student Government President of her 10th grade class, Justice stepped up to lead and coordinate last year’s community holiday celebration and bike give-away. Justice’s involvement with Wake County 4-H and her commitment to improving the lives of families in her community has made a difference in the lives of her peers and neighbors, and make us proud to call her an Outstanding Volunteer.

Randi Jenkins – Wake County Public Libraries
Randi’s commitment to the preservation of historical documents at the Olivia Raney Library has ensured that the library will continue to be a source of historical information for readers and researchers from all over the state. Randi has spent the past year updating the library’s vertical files, and her dedication will allow future generations to learn about the rich history of our county and our state.

Morgan Schodtler – Wake County Public Libraries
Morgan has also worked to make the library a better place for the citizens of Wake County. This summer, Morgan found her niche as a junior archivist while working in the closed stacks at Olivia Raney Library. She was responsible for reorganizing the archival collections so that librarians and staff would be able to more easily and efficiently locate materials for patrons and researchers. As a result of her efforts, our citizens now have better access to the archival materials and resources available in the closed stacks at Olivia Raney.

Adult Citizen Volunteer Category

David Horowitz – Human Services
For more than 25 years, Dr. Horowitz has played a critical role in Wake County’s efforts to keep our children safe. Through his work as a founding member of the Wake County Child Fatality Team and Community Child Protection Team, Dr. Horowitz has helped the State of North Carolina reduce its child death rate by 46% since 1992. His medical and mental health expertise, as well as his historical perspective, has allowed him to identify and promote solutions to the conditions that endanger children. Despite the heartbreaking nature of this critical work, his passion, commitment and faithful service have saved the lives of some of Wake County’s most vulnerable citizens.

Walter Kreais – Fire Services
For more than 12 years, Walter has volunteered his time as a firefighter, EMT and fire truck tanker driver for Eastern Wake Fire and Rescue. In addition to responding to emergency calls and assisting neighboring departments with the fire insurance rating process, he represents the department in various community outreach events, such as the N.C. Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Parade, and Camp Celebrate for burned children. Considering the average service time of a volunteer firefighter in America is two years, Walter's ongoing service is quite notable, and his knowledge and experience are critical to the ongoing success of Eastern Wake Fire and Rescue.

Diana McLucas – Human Services
For nearly five years, Diana has volunteered for four hours a day, four days a week at Wake County’s Southern Regional Center. During this time, she has learned the center’s document management program and digitized approximately 70 large file cabinets worth of Economic Services client records. Her efforts have freed up case workers to focus more time on clearing the backlog of various client cases, and allowed Human Services to provide better, faster assistance to the thousands of Wake County families in need of services every day.

Renwick Pridgeon – Board of Elections
For more than 40 years, Renwick has served as a Wake County Precinct Official and assisted countless Wake County citizens to exercise their right to vote. Renwick worked his first election at age 22 and now serves as an appointed Chief Judge in precinct 01-35 and as an early voting supervisor at Chavis Community Center, where he manages curbside and crowd control. Renwick’s commitment to the voting process extends beyond election day, as he also assists with community outreach, pre-election ballot testing and post-election provisional and canvass processes. For decades, Renwick’s community involvement and desire to serve has helped thousands of voters in Wake County fulfill one of our most important civic duties.

Wake County Employee Volunteer Category

Petra Hager – Human Services
For decades, Petra has served Wake County’s Latino community in a variety of ways. From providing bilingual assistance during disasters to celebrating Latino culture to empowering new leaders, Petra’s service has helped bridge the culture and language gap for thousands of Latinas in Wake County and beyond. Whatever the need, Petra is willing to serve, and our communities benefit in countless ways from her service.

Debbie Hinds – Human Resources
In 4½ years as a Foster Parent for the Animal Center, Debbie has forever changed the lives of more than 100 foster pets, as well as the families they eventually call their own. In addition to the non-stop, day-to-day demands of fostering these animals, Debbie ensures they receive appropriate medical care and coordinates the adoption process to help them find the perfect forever home. Debbie also serves the difficult role of a hospice foster, making sure that, despite the pain or abuse they may have suffered previously, an animal’s last days are comfortable and full of love. While her commitment to bettering the lives of these animals is remarkable, it’s her devotion and dedication to service that make her an Outstanding Volunteer.

Luz Opsal – Human Services
As an interpreter for the Urban Ministries Open Door Clinic, Luz has helped Hispanic patients obtain necessary medical care. A reliable, proficient and compassionate volunteer, Luz has helped thousands of patients understand their medical encounters, which in turn improves their healing and overall health. For nearly a decade, Luz has shown the utmost care and concern for others, and her ongoing commitment to ensuring her patients’ comfort and health is commendable.