Helping vets, feeding the food insecure, and rescuing animals are just some of the ways this year’s Governor Volunteer Service Award honorees are helping make Buncombe County a better place. In May, County Commissioners officially recognized five people for their superlative work exemplifying how volunteerism can tackle tough issues and make a significant difference in our community. Please take a moment to recognize and read more about the following Governor Volunteer Service Award honorees: Lynn Lederer, Dr. Greg Lentz, Hannah Soboleski, James Stillwell, and Edith Walker.
About 2022’s honorees
Lynn Lederer: Lynn is honored for being part of MANNA FoodBank’s Food Access and Support Team Helpline, which assist individuals with federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Lynn is one of the veteran volunteers who helped build the helpline program and has served as an application assister for the last eight years, where she guides clients facing financial crisis through the SNAP application process. Lynn is friendly and easy to talk to, and she goes the extra mile for every client.
Dr. Greg Lentz: Greg is honored for his leadership skills with Hearts With Hands, a disaster response organization located in Buncombe County. Hearts with Hands has responded to disasters by providing large amounts of food and a huge variety of supplies across the country. Notably, the organization has responded to hurricanes in eastern North Carolina as well as to the recent flooding in western North Carolina.
Hannah Soboleski: Hannah is honored as the founder and president of Home for Black Cats. The Asheville-based nonprofit specializes in saving black cats and kittens and advocating for their right to a happy, healthy forever home. They offer rescue and trap-neuter-release (TNR) services in the Buncombe County area. Home for Black Cats works with other rescues to increase its impact and educate the public on black cat statistics. Their mission is to spread the magic of black cats and foster a community that loves and protects them.
James Stillwell: James is honored for his commitment of service to the veterans at the Western North Carolina VA. As a volunteer, he is filled with passion and excitement for our veterans and always seeks new and innovative ways to meet the needs of vets. His commitment during the pandemic is showcased by his pledge to provide healing opportunities through art. Jim also created online workshops for veterans being served through the Community Living Center and Mental Health programs.
Edith Walker: Edith is honored for being the lead volunteer for the Abernethy UMC Baby Equipment and Resources (BEAR) Closet. This faith-based mission has been operating for a number of years as a drop-in service for women and children in need of supplies for children ages birth to five years old. Edith continues to grow the program and is a valuable resource for training and mentoring additional volunteers. During the pandemic, she redesigned operations so they could remain functional and has been instrumental in partnering with other Buncombe County agencies and ministries.
About the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award
The Governor's Volunteer Service Award honors the true spirit of volunteerism by recognizing individuals, groups and businesses that make a significant contribution to their community through volunteer service. The awards program, created by the Office of the Governor in 1979, recognizes North Carolina’s most dedicated volunteers. Through the years, this award has honored thousands who have shown concern and compassion for their neighbors by volunteering in their local community.
Buncombe County began accepting nomination for the 2022 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award in January, and on April 28, we received all winners for our County. We would like to take a moment to properly acknowledge them since they are often without rewards or recognition for the integral work to our community, offering their time and energy to important causes.