Editorial: Excellence abounds here at home

Jun. 07, 2013 @ 06:53 PM

Vance County has excellence, and in more ways than one.

The most recent confirmation came from the state’s Division of Aging and Adult Services. The Vance County Senior Center is a senior center of excellence.

Of course, Juan Jefferson and his staff have been doing excellent work all along. But, the crew set out to achieve the highest level, adjusted for shortcomings in a previous attempt and sailed through the process.

The best part is what it means in terms of service. Seniors in the county are seeing many needs met, and opportunities are numerous.

An added benefit is additional funding for Jefferson and his team. That will go a long way when considering there are nearly three dozen services offered and about 500 people each day being served.

The team says this won’t be the high point. They’re striving to be even better.

The center is certainly excellent, and a source of pride.

• Speaking of award-winning entities, count the Kerr Lake State Recreation Area as one part of North Carolina’s bid for the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Parks and Recreation Management.

The state parks system is one of four finalists, joining Virginia, Florida and Missouri. The winner will be announced in October.

The award judges on long-range planning, response to population and economic trends, extent of public support, quality of natural resource protection and types of services to special population groups.

Our state system attracts about 14 million visitors annually. A recent study judged the economic impact at $419 million. It includes more than 218,000 acres, 41 state parks and recreation areas, and a system of state natural areas dedicated to conservation of rare resources.

• Project Lift, led by William Hawkins III, continues to make an impact on the youth of Vance County.

Hawkins started the program in 1997. Boys and girls lift weights, compete in events outside the county through various weight-lifting associations, and get a measure of self-discipline and an increase in self-esteem.

Hawkins said the program is a positive alternative to the streets. He’s got seven assistants helping, and all do it on a volunteer basis. Generous sponsors help the youth travel.

They hope to expand, but we’re glad the project calls Vance County home.