For this special edition of Grace Notes, we’ve decided to address the current national conversation on race and justice by featuring clips from a number of our past guests – guests whose passion is for their communities and who are committed to making a positive difference. Their lives are more than just talk – they’ve oriented their time, talent, and treasure to serve others. They look beyond skin color, but without ignoring the differences – racial, economic, social, historical – that present real challenges to many. And recognizing the power of music we’ve also selected songs that we think speak to the current issues in a compelling way, songs by Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, and Sam Cooke.
Meet WWII Veteran Jim Berardi. He'll share a little bit about his experience as a Marine on Iwo Jima, and also reflect on what Memorial Day means to him. We're honored to be able to share just a little glimpse into the life of this 94-year-old.
North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Mariah Morris. With National Teacher Appreciation Day coming up next Tuesday, we invited Mariah to share some of her story with us. She is a woman who is passionate about empowering children – and making a difference – through education. And she’s committed therefore to supporting teachers who love teaching. COVID-19 has required some adjustments, but her goals are unchanged.
Meet Ginny Mohrbutter, Executive Director of the United Way Tar River Region. The worldwide pandemic has affected everyone, but Ginny is undaunted in her commitment to serve our neighbors. Through her region's COVID-19 response fund, she is coordinating ongoing support of the unique needs of the many nonprofits on the front lines of her part of North Carolina. Ginny's optimism is paired with an energetic can-do approach to life that is just downright encouraging.
Upon Jane Tyson’s retirement from Abbott Labs after 28 years, volunteer work became her focus. Among other things, she started a 4H sewing club - and has not only taught girls of all ages to sew, but has instilled in them through their sewing projects a special spirit of giving to meet the needs of others in the community. And in response to the nationwide shortage resulting from the demands of the coronavirus pandemic, Jane and her team have recently taken it upon themselves to sew dozens of face masks to donate to hospitals and nursing homes.
After losing her son to a rare blood disease in 2009 at the age of (as he would say) 7 and 3/4 years old, Betsy Moore and her family with the help of dozens of volunteers decided to pay it forward. Each September in celebration of Dylan's birthday, with the town of Gaston, will host Dylan Moore Days and all proceeds are given to a family in medical crisis.
Anthony McCauley is the founder and CEO (Chief Encouraging Officer) of a non-profit organization called MALES of Distinction. Knowing for himself what it means in life to get off track, he serves now as a role model and mentor for boys in his community - many of whom are growing up in homes without a father figure. And his passion for his mission is inspiring.
We are proud to welcome back our very first Grace Notes guest - Mary Latham. Over three years ago, Mary set out on a mission to travel to every state in the country - in her late mother's blue Subaru - to collect stories of human kindness. We spoke to her in 2016 when she was in North Carolina, and since then she has been on quite the journey. The stories she's heard and the people she's met along the way have greatly impacted her life, and Mary plans to write a book to donate to hospital waiting rooms in the hopes that families going through loss and hard times will be encouraged and uplifted - something she so desperately yearned for during her mom's battle with cancer. When we originally heard Mary's story, Grace Notes was just an idea, but today we can say that she and the stories she's heard embody what Grace Notes is all about.
Ginger Minichiello lived most of her life in the Boston area and worked more than 50 years as a registered nurse. She and her husband moved to NC some 15 years ago and she has not slowed down, making an impact on her community in more ways than one - volunteering with a variety of organizations, ranging from her local master gardener program to her County's North Carolina Symphony Advisory Board. Her retirement lifestyle is an inspiration.
Janette Rod grew up in extreme poverty in the mountains of NC, but instead of falling victim to her circumstances, she has lived a life that is an inspiration to those around her. She focused on school, graduated from college, started a family, and built a successful career in finance. Then, at the age of 45, she decided it was time to do more - so she started Mama's House, a nonprofit organization with a mission of serving any North Carolinian facing food or clothing needs.
Over the past forty years, the Hamilton family has gone caroling together each Christmas season. They bring their instruments - including 13 horns and a guitar and a violin, and even bells rung by toddlers - and they all appear at homes unexpectedly, bringing holiday cheer to friends and neighbors. Tom and Judy started as high school sweethearts with a love of music, and their family has grown to over 30 people now - including 6 great grandchildren!
This episode of Grace Notes is in honor Bob Baillie, a Canadian Native who moved to NC in the 90s. Bob was always one to look for ways to help those around him, and the unexpected loss of his sight in 2007 just fueled that passion. In fact, after going blind, he founded and directed - until his death in 2017 - two non-profit organizations in Moore County: Mira USA and Vision 4 Moore. Join us as we welcome two of his friends and associates, Chris Jordan and Pamela Partis, to share something of Bob's story - and his eclectic taste in music. As Chris and Pamela say, Bob may not have had sight, but he surely had vision.
Jesse Lewis, Executive Director of Peacemakers of Rocky Mount. After seeing for himself the poverty in Guatemala, Jesse left the banking world and stepped aside from his own video production company to focus on helping his own community. He's committed to working with people to make long-term changes that create opportunities for kids and the families for generations. Jesse understands the complexity of the issues, but he is a man passionate about making a difference in the lives of his neighbors - in housing, education, and job readiness... and he certainly knows his music!
Tessa Wilson is a fairly recent high school graduate whose mother is currently undergoing treatment for stage 2 breast cancer. in recognition of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we'd like to share a daily caretaker's perspective on a disease that unfortunately many of us are familiar with. Tessa's gentle strength comes through loud and clear when she talks about chemotherapy, her love for her family, and the value of a support system grounded on long-term relationships. Her upbeat outlook on Life and her mother's diagnosis is encouraging and inspiring.
Nancy Ruppert is a former nurse who took up beekeeping on the side some years ago. Changes in the healthcare industry and her love of bees and beekeeping led her to make a career change, and she now is one of six apiary inspectors in the state of NC - and the first and only female inspector. Nancy is knowledgeable and insightful about all things environmental, and especially about the challenges facing pollinators. She is gracious and warm - thanks no doubt in significant part to her close relationship with her seven siblings and their single mother.
Megan Williams is a mother of 3 young boys. Motivated by personal experience, she and her army husband have become NC certified foster parents and fostered 8 kids. She and two other local foster mothers have started "Roots and Wings" - an organization with a mission to help fill the gaps in the foster system, to enable prospective foster parents to say "YES" to taking in children. Megan's own road has not been easy, and her husband's assignments have made for a transient lifestyle, so her motto is to "plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit." Her outlook on life is undeniably positive and uplifting.
Pete Saunders certainly has his stories... and many of them revolve around either his good wife, Dottie, or his connections with people he's met in a lifetime career in radio. Pete's experience ranges from growing up in a sharecropper family to emceeing a POW/MIA celebrity golf tournament to learning from Dale Carnegie the power in relationships of admitting mistakes.
Jim Haston can be described as a lover of life - and five special women. He and his wife have been married for sixty-two years and they have raised four daughters together - one of whom was born deaf. He served in the navy for a decade between the Korean and Vietnam wars, and his work experience seems to have touched virtually every business category in the economy. Even in his eighties, Jim does his best to stay active, and recently left the regional senior games with six gold medals. Jim's outlook is upbeat and refreshing, and his music takes us back to the golden age of radio.