Lenoir-Rhyne University's Board of Trustees recently presented Community Service Awards to local citizens, Alan K. Jackson, and Pastor Kim E. Moss. On-campus award recipients included Dr. Soraya Valdez Place, Caroline Elizabeth Lindsey, and Sigma Kappa Sorority.
Community Service Awards are awarded to persons who have rendered significant philanthropic or volunteer service to their communities, and who act as exemplary role models to the LRU community as it educates students for leadership and service.
Alan K. Jackson serves as Chief Customer Officer of Bivarus, a healthcare survey and consulting services firm, which merged with The Jackson Group in 2016. The Jackson Group was founded in 1976, and he worked for the firm for over 20 years, serving as CEO before the company merger. Jackson is also founder and Executive Director of Jackson Creative (formerly Jackson Group Interactive), a full-service video and multimedia production firm. A pioneer in the multi-media industry, Jackson was instrumental in creating The Mesh in 2011, an online network of audio/video podcasts from Western North Carolina. He is Co-Founder and Co-Director for Footcandle Film Society, a non-profit started in 2007, which hosts monthly film screenings, discussions, and educational film-related events throughout Catawba County. The Footcandle Film Festival was introduced in 2015 as an annual event that brings a variety of films and their filmmakers to Hickory for a weekend of screenings and discussions.
Jackson's service to the city of Hickory and surrounding communities has been extensive. He has been heavily involved in the Rotary Club of Lake Hickory, serving on the board as Public Relations Chairman from 2007 – 2014, and President from 2012 – 2014. Jackson has also served as a board member for the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, as a cabinet member of Champions of Education, Chairman of the Board for the City of Hickory Business Development Committee, and Co-Chairman of TEDxHickory. He currently serves as Board President for the Hickory Museum of Art, and is a board member of the United Arts Council of Catawba County, the Hickory Public Schools Foundation, and the Hickory Bond Commission.
Pastor Kim E. Moss is Senior Pastor at Mt. Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hickory. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor at LRU, teaching a course in Intro to Christianity. Moss previously worked in the Department of Social Work at Broughton Hospital, and for the City of Durham's Office on Youth. While working for the City of Durham, Moss also served as Coordinator for the Mayor's Summer Youth Work Initiatives and Co-Producer of former Durham Teen Scene, a TV show created by teenagers for teenagers.
Moss serves on numerous boards and organizations, dedicating her time to youth and community members in need. She is a board member for the Catawba Valley Health Partners, Greater Hickory Ministerial Alliance, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – Hickory and Durham Alumnae Chapters, Responding Secretary – Women in Ministry, Alpha Chi Honor Society, Harriet B. Wester Task Force, St. Matthew Community Alliance/Community Development, Durham Crisis Response Center – Faith Based Community Task Force.
Soraya Valdez Place recently completed her first-year as a faculty member at LRU where she teaches Spanish courses. Before coming to LRU, Place served in the Peace Corps in Panama, where she created and helped develop reading programs for indigenous communities. Since moving to Hickory, Place has continued her commitment to service. She volunteers extensively with Centro Latino, and has served on the Board of Directors since 2015. Centro Latino is a non-profit in Hickory which seeks to bridge the cultural gap between Spanish and non-Spanish speaking members of the community.
Caroline Elizabeth Lindsey is a graduate student at LRU pursuing a Master of Science in Exercise Science degree. When she's not working toward her graduate degree, Lindsey remains committed to helping serve others. She is a member of the LR tennis team and uses her athletic skills to help teach lessons to Special Olympics' tennis players. Lindsey also works in the therapy department at Trinity Village Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hickory, where she has built close relationships with patients from a variety of backgrounds. Lindsey believes working closely with people from all walks of life and taking advantage of community service opportunities has taught her, "valuable skills that can only be derived by giving one's time to others in need."
Sigma Kappa Sorority has been an active Greek Life organization at LRU for more than 50 years. Chapter President, Allison Shive, and members, Rebecca Handley, Hannah Price, and Sydney Jones accepted the Student Organization Community Service Award on behalf of the sorority.
Sigma Kappa maintains steadfast in their efforts to engage in community service opportunities. Every other month the women of the sorority clean litter from the roadsides on a stretch of Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard, which Sigma Kappa adopted through the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Adopt-A-Highway program. The women also visit Trinity Ridge Nursing Home in Mountain View where they help host parties, lead activities, and engage with residence through conversation. Last October, a Trunk-or-Treat event was hosted by the sorority, giving children of the community an opportunity to enjoy free candy and a safe environment while celebrating Halloween. Many members of Sigma Kappa are active in their churches, where they provide children's ministry work among other volunteer services.