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Local volunteers take center stage


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The 2010 North Carolina awards for "Outstanding Volunteer Service" and New Hanover County "Volunteer of the Year" award took center stage.

The Governors Medallion of Honor nominee and winners were announced at a dinner in the city hall chambers. This years keynote speaker was Tannis Nelson who is part of the Governor's Commission on Volunteerism.

The Sutton family is just one of the nominees. They have an inspiring story. They took in injured Hatians after the devastating earthquake and helped them get medical treatment for their injuries.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says he feels an enormous amount of pride.

"It's a great time to honor these people and recognize them and put them up on a pedestal and really say this is what communities are about," Saffo said. "This communitarian spirit that we have here in our community is phenomenal."

Steve Bilzi scored the New Hanover County Volunteer of the Year award and Bob Martenis, president of the Airlie Gardens Foundation Board took home the Governor's Medallion of Honor award.

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New Hanover County Volunteers of the Year Award Ceremony

New Hanover County Volunteer of the Year Award Winners and Governor’s Awards Winners 2010

Bob Martenis has been the president of Airlie Gardens Foundation for five years. He has helped increase the endowment fund from $600,000 to $1.7 million dollars. He has also increased membership by 30% and tripled event attendance.

Steven Bilzi has volunteered for over 400 hours for various schools in NH County. He has also served on the local school board for eight years. He is the chairman of the board of directors for Wilmington Health Access for Teens, as well as serving on the Board of Directors for NHCounty Community Action, NC Food Bank, and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. He is also the Advancement Scoutmaster for Troop 239.

Steve Schnitzler/Port City Java, the owner of Port City Java, has established a corporate volunteering program that allows each employee to volunteer for five hours of paid time. He also spearheaded the Full Belly project , a locally founded non-profit that assists farmers in Malawi. They also invited local non-profits to Port City Java for National Volunteer Week to recruit volunteersand raise awareness,

Hannah Ryan and Amy Earkes redid the Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network ‘s Day Center for the homeless. They repainted the whole house, installed new lighting, cleaned, and refurbished the home. They recruited all the volunteers and raised all the funds neccesary to completely redo the Day Center.

Martha Foister has volunteered with Vintage Values Thrift Store for five years. Even though she has struggled with diabetes, she continues to help victims of domestic violence, putting their needs before her own.

For Questions or longer descriptions please contact: Annie M. Anthony, Cape Fear Volunteer Center Director: 910-392-8180 office, 910-200-2201 cell,