Every year as Christmas approaches, Jim Annis builds toys to give away to children in his community. Over the years, he has built hundreds of such toys, and he doesn’t look for any payment except the smiles he sees on the kids’ faces. Hear Jim’s inspiring story – what motivated him to build toys for children who might otherwise go without on Christmas morning, how he learned to work with his hands, and why dancing is a big part of who he is. As he says, “the Lord blessed me with talented hands and feet!”
On Grace Notes, we often take a little time to talk about the lyrics of the songs chosen by our guests. On this episode, we’re diving deep into the world of lyricist and musician, Stan Gelber. Gelber penned songs made famous by the likes of Tom Jones, Tommy Roe, and even Elvis Presley. What motivated him to write the words sung by so many throughout the world? Although music was always a passion of Stan’s, he’s had many different career paths on his way to fulfilling his dream – from an army reservist, to a member of the New York Bar, and even a public school teacher – each experience helped to make Stan the man he is today.
Vicki Berg is a long-time Salvation Army volunteer who takes on a number of roles throughout the calendar year, including at this time of year helping with the Salvation Army’s “Angels” program to make Christmas special for underprivileged children and families in our area.
It’s been said that “poor is the nation who has no heroes. Shameful is the nation who having them – fails to honor them.” Retired Brigadier General Arnold Gordon-Bray had a 35 year-long career in the Army and served in a variety of capacities all over the world. He says in his younger years Veteran’s Day was just another day off, but as he’s gotten older he has come to realize the importance of honoring our nation’s heroes and celebrating the legacy of military service. The General is a family man and a student of history, which in itself gives him hope for the future.
Audrey Bolton and Rebekah Pipkin are lifelong friends who since their youth have had a heart for kids in need. As foster and adoptive parents, they recently started a backpack fundraising program – almost by happenstance. In a matter of days, they raised over $1200 – and they’ve used those funds and more to buy backpacks and fill them with essentials for children just entering the foster care system – many of whom may otherwise not have any belongings of their own. Audrey and Rebekah say they’re motivated in part by a bible verse, James 1:27 – a call to care for orphans and widows.
The education of the next generation is a huge part of who Pam Kerley is. Having homeschooled her own three children for most of their lives, Pam now also serves as the Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program assistant in Lee County. She works with and on behalf of kids all day and knows a thing or two about how they learn and what motivates them. She has also recently found herself in a position to help other parents with unexpected homeschooling responsibilities of their own. Her commitment is inspiring, and her enthusiasm is contagious.
Charles McKnight’s humble beginnings did not hold him back. Grounded early on the encouragement of his parents, he has excelled in a number of arenas. And building on his academic and business success, he now serves as pastor at New Zion A.M.E. Zion Church in Moore County. His spiritual perspective, his passion for making a difference in the lives of others, and his hope for the future are an inspiration.
A special Labor Day episode featuring Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant employee, Steven Dickens. Steven is not only a hard worker, but a lover of life and a passionate gospel singer and we're thrilled to be able to share his story with you!
Ron Green - CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region – grew up in some rough neighborhoods, but was able to overcome the violent environments of his childhood through his pursuit of athletic excellence. He was eventually drafted by the Chicago Cubs organization and played in the minor leagues for several years before finding his true calling helping disadvantaged youth. He's now been working with the Boys and Girls Club in various cities for over twenty years. Ron is joined by Elijah Sellers, who was recently named the Boys and Girls Clubs' Youth of the Year in North Carolina. Like Ron, Elijah is an overcomer - and he's going places!
Meet John Luckett, President and CEO of the Raleigh Rescue Mission. John grew up on a small farm in rural Mississippi and has a front row seat on the civil rights fear and tensions of the 1960s in the deep South. He was one of the few in his high school class to go to college, and after a successful career in banking and business he and his wife decided as a matter of faith and mercy to take an active hand in meeting the needs of those less advantaged. John has long recognized and appreciated the opportunities given to him by others, and refusing to let race, culture, or his roots define him or limit him, he has turned his personal experience into a life changing ministry to the homeless in our region.
William and Lynne McDuffie are both practicing veterinarians who have turned a great love of the outdoors into a vital non-profit organization - Foothills Outdoors - whose mission is "Giving Everyone a Place to Play." Over the past several years, Foothills Outdoors has established miles of hiking, biking, and paddling trails along Bear Creek in the Robbins area, and they've hosted fundraising events for a variety of organizations in their community.
A special Independence Day episode where we'll hear stories and 4th of July memories from some of the members of our Life 103.1 team and talk about freedom and the flag and what it means to them to be an American - along with some special music they've selected.
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.