Golden Hammers awarded

Published 1:29 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Volunteers, donors and homeowners were recognized for their involvement with the Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity during a ceremony last week. The recognitions, referred to as the “Golden Hammer Awards,” were distributed at the Historic Farmville Train Station on Friday evening.

According to a press release, the awards “honor all of those who make it possible for Habitat to serve those in need of safe, decent, affordable housing.” Prince Edward, Buckingham, Cumberland and Charlotte counties benefit from the efforts of Habitat for Humanity.

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Executive Director Jayne Johnson and Board President Jennifer Cox introduced the awards and gave special recognition to board members and staff.

Habitat Community Outreach Director Sam Rabon said the highlight of the evening was the reflections given by current Habitat homeowners. Rabon moderated as homeowners shared their habitat journey with the audience. Several homeowners, both old and new, made up the panel, including, Larry and Phyllis Stokes, Cheryl Hamilton and Lisa Scott-Hicks.

The Stokeses built their home with Habitat in 1996, while Hamilton didn’t realize her dream of homeownership until 2005. Scott-Hicks’ home will be dedicated to her in coming weeks.

Rabon said there were laughter, joy and some tears during the homeowner panel. A presentation of awards followed for individuals and organizations selected based on the special impact they made during the past year. According to Rabon, these recipients support the vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

The Volunteer category had five recipients: Jonathan Pride of Mobile Mini, Polly Davis, Bill Blackburn, William Vanbenthuysen and Jimmy Dedmond of Odds and Ends Home Improvement.

Kyanite Mining Corp. received recognition in the business category while Friendship Baptist Church of Drakes Branch was recognized as a contributing church.

Other honorees included the Walter J. Payne Foundation for the foundation award, Chris Good of Lynchburg Roofing for Gifts In Kind, Charlotte Lions Club for civic organization and Susan Estes as an individual donor.

Hampden-Sydney College received the school award for a class taught by Dr. Saranna Thornton titled, “Good Men, Good Citizens: Philanthropy in Theory and Practice.”

Justin Hicks received an award for Charlotte County Partnership; Katie Tyree accepted an award for Buckingham County Partnership.

“Volunteers and donors are the lifeblood of our organization,” Johnson said.

She said volunteer labor saves homebuyers up to 30 percent of the cost to build a home.

“This savings makes the difference between living in substandard housing and being able to purchase an affordable home,” Johnson said.

At the end of the award ceremony, guests watched a montage of images highlighting the past year of work and looked forward to homes yet to come in 2017.

Currently, Habitat and four families are partnering to prepare for new home construction.

In Charlotte County, the site of Habitat’s most recent partnership, work is underway on its first home repair with many others being assessed, according to the press release.

Rabon said the joy of celebrating called for a renewed commitment in the year ahead as he closed the program with the question of, “What will you build in 2017?”

Community members interested in becoming involved with the Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity can contact them at (434) 394-3001 or by visiting

Carol Fields and volunteers from Farmville United Methodist Church provided refreshments for the ceremony.