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Chamber Salutes 12 Local Heroes

Member News Event Partnership for a Sustainable Community

17th annual awards ceremony recognizes selfless acts of community service


CHAPEL HILL, NC: On December 12, 2019, The Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro honored twelve local heroes during “Salute to Community Heroes,” the 17th annual awards ceremony presented by AT&T. The awards are part of The Chamber's commitment to recognize and encourage volunteerism and selfless service, and promote a thriving, healthy, and sustainable community.

2019 Heroes

  1. Fire Driver Mechanic Chris Squires, Carrboro Firefighter of the Year 
  2. Officer Karissa Kimrey,Carrboro Police Officer of the Year 
  3. Fire Equipment Operator Jimmy Lambert, Chapel Hill Firefighter of the Year 
  4. Officer Madison Parker, Chapel Hill Police Officer of the Year 
  5. Captain Mary Anne Averette, Orange County Emergency Services Employee of the Year 
  6. Captain Tina Sykes, Orange County Sheriff’s Office Employee of the Year
  7. CPR Instructor Trainer Bob Eaton, South Orange Rescue Squad Member of the Year 
  8. Officer Tiesha Williams, UNC Department of Public Safety Employee of the Year
  9. Douglas Call, 2019 Jim Gibson Volunteer of the Year 
  10. Chapel Hill Fire Chief Matt Sullivan, 2019 Town and Gown Award 
  11. Perry Colwell, 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award 
  12. Reverend Robert Campbell, 2019 Citizen of the Year 

About the Event

The twelve honorees, including eight officers and emergency response personnel, and four community members, were peer-selected for their valuable contributions to their offices and service to our community. 

The 2019 officer awards were presented by AT&T Regional Director of External Affairs, Robert Doreauk, with Carrboro Mayor Lavelle, Chief Enoch, and Chief Horton; Chapel Hill Mayor Hemminger, Chief Sullivan, and Chief Blue; Orange County Board of County Commissioners Chair Rich, Emergency Services Director Jeffries, and Sheriff Blackwood; South Orange Rescue Squad Board Chair Stipe and Chief Mauzy; and UNC-Chapel Hill Police Chief David Perry. 

The 2019 community awards were presented by Hendrick Southpoint AutoMall Market Area Vice President, Gerald Ramoin, with Chamber Board Chair and Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Coastal Credit Union, Creighton Blackwell. 

In addition to the public commendation and certificate, each honoree received a beautiful portrait captured by talented local photographer and Chamber member, Lili Engelhardt of Lili Engelhardt Fine Art Portraiture. The portraits were framed by celebrated local artist Steven Ray Miller, displayed during the ceremony, and gifted to each honoree at the conclusion of the event. 

The awards ceremony was held in the Atrium of University Place with 200 attendees, including the Chamber Board of Directors, members, and staff; local elected and senior government officials; and friends, families, and colleagues of the honorees. The awards ceremony opened and closed with a vocal performance by East Chapel Hill High Alley Cats and refreshments were provided by Chick-Fil-A.

Pictures from the event, which will be available soon on flickr, were captured by local photographer Trevor Holman. The sponsors for the evening included AT&T (Presenting Sponsor);  Hendrick Southpoint AutoMall (Community Awards Sponsor); Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and UNC Health Care (Community Champions); and 97.9 The Hill WCHL and, Chapel Hill Magazine, Hendrick Southpoint Automall, and PNC (Community Investors). 



Carrboro Firefighter of the Year: Fire Driver Mechanic Chris Squires

"Fire Driver Mechanic Chris Squires exemplifies the phrase 'exceeding all expectations.' Squires has served the Town of Carrboro for twelve years and was promoted to Driver in April 2011. He is personable, respectful, and always willing to go the extra mile even when the days are long.

He is responsible for maintaining and repairing all of Carrboro’s Fire Apparatus. Recently, when a front line engine went down after work hours, Squires worked until 1 am to restore the unit to service. This is merely one example of his dedication to his job and our community. We are proud to recognize Fire Driver Mechanic Chris Squires as Carrboro’s 2019 Firefighter of the Year."

Carrboro Police Officer of the Year: Officer Karissa Kimrey

"Officer Karissa Kimrey started a career in law enforcement in 2013. She began working with the Carrboro Police Department in 2016 as a patrol officer and currently serves as a K-9 officer.  Working as a team with her K-9 partner Turbo, she performs narcotic sniffs, evidence searches, and tracks suspects.

Outside of these duties, she attends community events and performs public K-9 demonstrations. She often takes time out of her day to speak with kids about being a police officer and K-9 handler. Officer Kimrey is known for her dedication and going beyond her regular duty assignments. For her commitment to safety and to her community, we are proud to recognize Officer Karissa Kimrey as the 2019 Carrboro Police Officer of the Year."

Chapel Hill Firefighter of the Year: Fire Equipment Operator Jimmy Lambert

"Jimmy Lambert has served the Town of Chapel Hill for the past 15 years as a Fire Fighter and Fire Equipment Operator. As a Fire Equipment Operator, Lambert is responsible for driving apparatus and safely getting personnel and equipment to emergency scenes. He always exhibits professionalism, diligence, and attention to detail.  He also serves his home community, Cedar Grove in northern Orange County, as a volunteer Assistant Fire Chief where he assists with training, budgeting, and overall leadership.

Lambert is known for his ability to provide honest and candid feedback and for the ability to consider impacts of a policy or a decision on a wide variety of employees. He has a positive work attitude that is contagious and contributes to the success of the Fire Department. Lambert is an exemplary father and husband, having supported his wife during her recent battle with cancer even while continuing to fight his own war with the disease. His pride in being part of the fire service and a member of the Chapel Hill Fire Department and his dedication to making the world a safer and better place are reasons we are proud to recognize Jimmy Lambert as the 2019 Chapel Hill Firefighter of the Year."

Chapel Hill Police Officer of the Year: Officer Madison Parker

"Officer Madison Parker has worked for the Town of Chapel Hill Police Department for just over 2 years and is assigned to the patrol division. Officer Parker has distinguished herself as a compassionate and caring public servant and has exemplified what it means to be a Guardian of the Hill. Recently, a woman who was experiencing homelessness came to CHPD and requested to speak to Officer Parker. When asked why Parker was being specifically requested, the woman said that when she first became homeless and began living in her car, Officer Parker would stop by periodically and check on her just to ensure she was doing okay. The woman said that for the entire year that she has been living in her car, she has kept Officer Parker’s business card because she knew Officer Parker was someone who cared about her and would make sure she is safe. 

Officer Parker has also demonstrated her desire to give back to the community in other ways such as joining the Crisis Negotiation Team and being actively involved in the new GEMS program that motivates and inspires the next generation of women to work in public safety and local government. Her future is bright and we are proud to call Officer Madison Parker our 2019 Chapel Hill Police Officer of the Year." 

Orange County Emergency Services Employee of the Year: Captain Mary Anne Averette

"Captain Mary Anne Averette has been at Orange County Emergency Services – Division of Communications since 1997. She rose from Telecommunicator through the ranks to Communications Training Officer and now serves as a Communications Supervisor. Her team states that, 'Captain Averette is the kind of leader you are lucky to work for. She pushes her people to do better, to work towards leadership roles, and to grow every day. She is always transparent about what she expects and demands from us, which is exactly what she expects from herself ­- to follow policy and procedure, provide timely customer service, and to be a cohesive unit able to handle any incident we may go through.' 

She leads by example and always greets each day with a 'can-do' and positive attitude. Captain Averette looks for the teaching moment in every event and is always the calming voice in the chaos. Captain Averette is the epitome of what a Community Hero should strive to be, which is why we are proud to call Captain Mary Anne Averette the 2019 Orange County Emergency Service Employee of the Year!" 

Orange County Sheriff’s Office Employee of the Year: Captain Tina Sykes

"Captain Tina Rimmer Sykes began working at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on June 2, 2002 as a Deputy Sheriff and was quickly promoted to Corporal in 2004. The following year, she joined the Criminal Investigation Division and worked primarily as a Special Victims Investigator. Captain Sykes assumed the concurrent role as the Supervisor of the School Resource Office during her time as an Investigator. She attained the rank of Sergeant in 2010, Lieutenant in 2014, and was recently promoted to Captain. 

Captain Sykes is a devoted wife and mother who has raised three boys with her husband. She is an extraordinary leader whose strengths include relationship building, patience, and compassion.  She inspires other women to grow in their law enforcement careers.  It is an honor for us to recognize Captain Tina Sykes as the 2019 Sheriff’s Department Employee of the Year." 

South Orange Rescue Squad Member of the Year: CPR Instructor Trainer Bob Eaton

"CPR Instructor Trainer Bob Eaton has been teaching CPR and First Aid with South Orange Rescue Squad since the CPR Program was founded in 2007 and he became an Instructor Trainer soon after. As a volunteer CPR Instructor, he teaches CPR and First Aid to people in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro community for free and this year he has taught 274 people--more than any other instructor. Eaton is a true Community Hero. His full-time career is as a Biologist for the USDA Forest Service.

Since 2000, Eaton has served as a Forest Fire Fighter with the USDA and has been deployed to fight forest fires in 10 different states. In his free time, Eaton serves as a volunteer Fire Fighter EMT for the Orange Grove Fire Department and teaches EMT and Medical Responder Classes at Durham Technical Community College. In all of his endeavors, Eaton serves his community and teaches others to do the same. For these reasons we are proud to name Bob Eaton the 2019 South Orange Rescue Member of the Year." 

UNC Department of Public Safety Employee of the Year: Officer Tiesha Williams

"Officer Tiesha Williams is the Special Events Coordinator for UNC Public Safety. This position requires her to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She has also received the department’s Community Police Award this year. One of her biggest accomplishments this year has been becoming a Rape Action Defense instructor.

She has dedicated much of her spare time to this program and has been working hard to expand the programming that the department offers to faculty, staff, and students. She is currently working with other officers to become certified in order to offer an advanced class for women. For her willingness to go above and beyond, we are proud to recognize Officer Tiesha Williams as the 2019 UNC Police Officer of the Year."

2019 Jim Gibson Volunteer of the Year: Douglas Call 

[The Jim Gibson Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who has volunteered their time, talents, and energy to enhance the quality of life in our community.]  

"Retired Naval Officer Douglas Call is a dedicated volunteer and advocate for affordable housing in our community and worldwide. He is not just a board member of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, but a regular jobsite volunteer, working at least once a week building homes. For more than six years, Call has done skilled construction work and supervised other volunteers at Habitat builds and has served well over 1,000 hours. Call has a heart for the mission of Habitat. He is wonderful with homeowner families and often builds relationships with them that extend beyond the few days that Habitat is on site doing repairs. 

Call's passion for affordable housing spans the hemisphere and he has served on three trips building Habitat homes for families in Honduras and Guatemala. When he's not on the jobsite, Call chairs Habitat's advocacy committee, leading the effort to advocate for affordable housing at the local, state, and national levels. Recently, Call was part of the NC delegation to Habitat on the Hill, where he visited leaders in Congress and encouraged them to support affordable housing. Our community is truly lucky for Douglas Call and his immense service to Habitat for Humanity and the people of our community. Congratulations Douglas Call, the 2019 Jim Gibson Volunteer of the Year. 

2019 Town and Gown Award: Chief Matt Sullivan

[The Town and Gown Award is presented to individuals who foster a mutually beneficial relationship between the greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro community and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This individual demonstrates a commitment to civic affairs and demonstrates leadership in cultivating the relationship among faculty, staff, students and government officials, citizenry, and the business community.] 
"Chief Matt Sullivan moved to Chapel Hill as a teenager in 1982, graduated from Chapel Hill High School and attended UNC-Chapel Hill, where he interned in the Police Department’s Crisis Unit. After graduating, Matt became a Chapel Hill Public Safety Officer where he served as an undercover narcotics officer and a DARE officer. Chief Sullivan got his Master’s in Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill and after working on campus in substance abuse prevention, returned to the Police Department as their Crisis Counselor.

Matt went on to get a law degree and became the Police Department’s staff legal advisor before becoming the Town’s Emergency Management Coordinator and then Chapel Hill’s Fire Chief. Over the last 30 years, and in each of his professional roles, specifically as the Chapel Hill Fire Chief responsible for fire protection both in town and on campus, Chief Sullivan has been a bridge between community and university – a true leader, partner, and trusted advisor to both campus and community. An example to emulate in both servant leadership and forming trusted partnerships, please join us in recognizing Chief Matt Sullivan as the 2019 Town and Gown Award winner." 

2019 Irene Briggaman Lifetime Achievement Award: Perry Colwell

[The Irene Briggaman Lifetime Achievement Award is named in honor of its first recipient and is only presented on occasion to individuals who have demonstrated a lifetime of exceptional public service and volunteerism in the greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro community, in multiple capacities with different organizations. This special honor is only awarded when a nominee’s consistent service and volunteerism has made a profound impact on our community over the long-term.] 

"For several decades, C. Perry Colwell has been an unsung hero of quiet transformation in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. His professional expertise with organizational development, especially for non-profit organizations, has helped to nurture a robust social and non-profit sector in our community that serves the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. As an executive consultant, coach, and mentor to the Boards and leaders of many of our most valued organizations, Colwell has ensured that their infrastructure, leadership, and financial stewardship are sound and sustainable. He takes the time to understand the ethos and DNA of an organization and to develop a holistic appreciation for the challenges and opportunities it may face.

Perry Colwell cares deeply about the individuals and causes these organizations serve. Colwell's many years of leadership at Triangle Community Foundation and Planned Parenthood sustained the organizations amid challenging times. Similarly, his commitment to the arts was a guidepost and anchor for organizations like The ArtsCenter in Carrboro and the Kidzu Children’s Museum. Colwell's well-honed business expertise has defined so much of his success partnering with organizations including Club Nova, Freedom House, Compass Center, The ARC of Orange County, Boomerang, Empowerment, Inc., SECU House, and others. He is a volunteer, investor, cheerleader, and philanthropist whose work in our community has forever changed our community for the better. Join me in recognizing C. Perry Colwell, winner of the 2019 Irene Briggaman Lifetime Achievement Award." 

2019 Citizen of the Year Award: Reverend Robert Campbell

[The Citizen of the Year Award is presented to an individual who believes that leadership and citizenship are the two essential ingredients to the community’s well-being. This individual embraces both qualities through service to civic or charitable organizations, through elective office or appointed position, and/or through encouragement of good business ethics and a commitment to excellence.]

"Reverend Campbell’s Chapel Hill roots run deep - his family has lived in the area for generations, and he’s always called Chapel Hill home. He was raised in Chapel Hill’s Historic Northside Neighborhood and graduated from Chapel High School in 1967.  Rev Campbell served in the Navy during Vietnam, and upon returning home, immediately immersed himself in fighting for social and environmental justice. For decades Rev. Campbell has advocated for the fair and just treatment of the residents of his community and championed solutions to the challenges faced by the Rogers-Eubanks neighborhood’s proximity to the Orange County landfill. Rev. Campbell helped form the Faith Tabernacle Oasis of Love International Church, served as the President of the Chapel Hill Carrboro NAACP from 2013-2016, and initiated the equity campaign for Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools. He currently serves as the President of the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association and the RENA Community Center.

A tenacious advocate for social justice, Rev. Campbell also finds ways to incorporate his love of cooking into his RENA work. After school, he teaches students how to prepare food and remain safe while cooking, and he even bakes his famous “Rogers Road Baja Biscuits” to thank RENA donors. Rev. Campbell not only fights the good fight, but he also wins, most notably the recent agreement between Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Orange County and OWASA to extend water and sewer infrastructure to the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood. Congratulations Reverend Robert Campbell, the 2019 Citizen of the Year."  

About The Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro: The Chamber is a membership organization that serves and advances the business interests of Greater Chapel Hill, including the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro as well as southern Orange, northern Chatham, and southwest Durham counties. The Chamber's network is growing with nearly 1,000-member enterprises that employ more than 95,000 workers throughout the region. Together with its network, The Chamber is committed to building a sustainable community where business thrives. Members count on The Chamber to help them connect, promote, advocate, and save money.
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