On Thursday, March 7, Wilkes Community College presented the 28th Annual Volunteer Recognition Reception to celebrate the contribution volunteers make to the success of the college. Approximately 200 guests enjoyed the food, fellowship and festivities of the evening. Volunteers assist in many areas of the college including in various departments, serving on various boards, MerleFest and the Walker Center. In 2018, 5,299 volunteers gave 47,929 hours of service to Wilkes Community College, which is equivalent to having over 23 full-time staff working 40 hours a week for 50 weeks of the year. The financial value on this volunteer service at the U.S. rate of $24.69 would equal $1,183,367. 

WCC President Dr. Jeff Cox told the volunteers, “You folks here this evening, and all the other volunteers who are not here tonight, truly represent all that is good about living and working here in Wilkes County. You are the heart of Wilkes Community College. You model for all of us on the faculty and staff here at the college our mission of service to this community. Over the last five years I have been here serving as president, I have been so impressed by the tremendous loyalty, respect, admiration, and appreciation the folks in our service area have for Wilkes Community College. The people here love this college and understand how vital it is to the long-term success of this community and our region. Nobody represents the commitment our community has to this college more than you folks here with us tonight. We thank you and we truly appreciate your service to our college and our community.”

The event culminated with the naming of volunteer of the year. Ann Graves, last year’s recipient, presented volunteer Lynn Day with the 2018 Chloe Sturdivant Award of Appreciation for Volunteer Excellence. Allison Phillips, executive director of WCC Foundation, nominated Mrs. Day for the award.

Her nomination stated, “Lynn has been volunteering with Wilkes Community College Foundation for over 30 years, working tirelessly to promote the college’s accomplishments, focus on student success, and contributions to our community, all while helping the volunteer and fundraising programs grow. Her contributions to WCC over the years have been more valuable to us than we could ever repay her. We are so fortunate that she continues to volunteer with us today with the same enthusiasm, passion and energy as she has over these 30 years.  It is Hats OFF to this amazing volunteer.”

“The Chloe Sturdivant Award of Appreciation for Volunteer Excellence is named for Chloe Sturdivant, who volunteered faithfully at WCC approximately 20 years. She served as the first MerleFest volunteer coordinator, and her impact at the college was felt from every corner of the campus,” says WCC volunteer coordinator Denna Foster Parsons. “She volunteered for Walker Center season and school shows, gave tours of the WCC gardens, helped with the annual golf tournament, and did anything else that she saw needed to be done to make Wilkes Community College a better place. She volunteered with enthusiasm and grace.”

The Bank Notes Band, which included Billy Gee, Randy Gambill, Wes Tuttle, Jeff Pardue, RG Absher, Mike Palmer, and Tony Joines, volunteered their time and talents to provide live musical entertainment throughout the night’s event.

WCC extends special thanks to our presenting sponsor, Wake Forest Baptist Health Wilkes Medical Center. Special thanks were also extended to the WCC Foundation and Walker Center staff for organizing the event and a special thank you to the Walker Center Hospitality staff, led by Chef Nicole Burrell for the delicious meal. Recognition was also given to the following businesses and individuals, Angela Bond, Duane Cornett, Gardner Glass Products, Johnson Limited (custom framed MerleFest posters), MerleFest Merchandise, Michael and Jenni Wingler, Two Rivers Cinema, WCC Absher Bookstore, and the WCC Foundation for their ongoing support of our Volunteer Recognition Reception with the donation of door prizes.

In keeping with the theme of the evening, “Hats Off To You”, and to conclude the evening, Denna F. Parsons read the following poem, written by Pamela Kahn. 


We’re here tonight to show appreciation for everything you do;

Our volunteers are priceless, and we tip our hats to you!

YOU wear many hats yourselves, because that’s how you’re wired;

You’re teachers & ministers, bankers & lawyers, business owners & retired,

Friends & colleagues, sisters, brothers, fathers, daughters, sons & mothers,

And all of you live out the truth that you rise by lifting others.

You get up early and stay late, give your holidays and vacation,

To put on your volunteer hat in support of higher education.

We appreciate your kindness, the heart to grin and bear it.

Because whether or not it’s a perfect fit, you grab that hat and wear it.

Thank you for being here with us, old hat partners and new;

We salute you, volunteers, OUR HATS ARE OFF TO YOU!!!

For information on volunteer opportunities with Wilkes Community College, The Walker Center and MerleFest, contact Denna Foster Parsons at 336-838-6262.


L-R: Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC president; Lynn Day, 2018 Volunteer of the Year; Chris Day, Lynn’s son; Allison Phillips, WCC Foundation executive director; and Denna F. Parsons, WCC volunteer coordinator.  Not pictured: Josh Day, Lynn’s son, who skyped in from Nashville.