Johnston Now Honors Recognizes Outstanding Citizens

(Left to right) Billy England, Carl Lamm, Dr. David Dennis, accepting for Dr. Dennis Koffer, Sara Perricone, Dwight Morris, accepting for Partnership for Children of Johnston County, Maisy Miller, Fiona Kincaid, Judy Boyette, Billy Gartin, Gregory Vinson, Anthony Lee, Rhonda Lee, Michael Currens and Eric Brewington. Photo by Jamaal Porter/Massive Motives

13 Johnston County residents honored for achievement and service in their communities

Submitted by Johnston Now magazine

BENSON — Thirteen Johnston County residents took home awards at Johnston Now Honors, presented by Johnston Health, on June 27 at the W.J. Barefoot Auditorium.

Johnston Now Honors is a countywide awards celebration honoring local heroes, and the winners received a trophy and a feature profile in the July edition of Johnston Now magazine.

“Johnston Now’s mission is to accentuate the positive in our county,” Shanna Capps, Johnston Now general manager, said. “This event allows us to take that vision to another level. We are so proud to honor this year’s winners, and we thank them for all the things they have done to make Johnston County a better place to live.”

The winners were: Carl Lamm, Spirit of the County; Brock Currens, Outstanding Firefighter; Bruce Woodard, Legend Award; Partnership for Children, Nonprofit of the Year; Dr. Dennis Koffer, Best Healthcare Professional; Gregory Vinson, Distinguished Police Officer; Billy England, Dynamic Entrepreneur; Judy Boyette, Excellence in Arts; Billy Gartin, Inspiring Coach; Fiona Kincaid and Maisy Miller, Rising Stars; Lt. Col. Eric Brewington, Veteran Service and Sara Perricone, Exemplary Volunteer.

Lamm is a retired radio broadcaster and the former owner of WTSB Radio in Four Oaks. He had a broadcasting career that spanned more than seven decades and is a member of the N.C. Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

He was awarded the Ronald Reagan Legacy Award earlier this year and is also a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine and a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary.

During his career, the Four Oaks resident interviewed more than 500 major league baseball players and about 25 percent of the members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Currens, a cadet firefighter with the Four Oaks Volunteer Fire Department, was killed while responding to a crash at GALOT Motorsports Park in March. He attended South Johnston High School, and he loved to fish, hunt and to be outdoors.

“He did have a big heart,” his mother, Rhonda Lee, said. “He did like to help people. … He wanted everybody to be proud of him, and he knew that was something that everyone would be proud of. It made him feel larger than life.”

Woodard was honored for his service as head of the Johnston County Cooperative Extension. During his ten years in charge, he founded the Johnston County Agribusiness Council and helped organize Keep Johnston County Beautiful. He also was instrumental in getting the Johnston County Livestock Arena built.

He and his wife, Annie, also sponsor an annual 4-H Scholarship Endowment and help send a child for Salvation Army camp each summer.

The Partnership for Children of Johnston County is the 2019 Johnson Now Honors Nonprofit of the Year. The organization works with children and families to prepare children for the start of kindergarten.

“A child’s mind is like a computer or a sponge,” Partnership for Children Director Dwight Morris said. “It’s there, ready for input. So, whatever that child gets in the early stage or in the beginning is how it’s going to function. All the software is critical. All the right environments, all the right educational opportunities, critical thinking, learning opportunities — all of those things play into what kind of computer it’s going to be and how it functions when that child gets to the next stage, to school.”

Koffer is the medical director of the SECU Hospice House at Johnston Health, where he serves as both the lead administrator and as the primary caregiver for patients. He’s a retired surgeon, and lives in Smithfield with his wife, Gayle.

Vinson is a is a fraud investigator with the N.C. Department of Insurance. He got his start in law enforcement with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Department, starting in the detention center before working his way up to detective.

“I love helping people when I can,” he said. “I want everybody to be the best version of themselves, and sometimes it’s hard to do that on your own.”

He lives in Clayton with his wife, Erica, and three children; Alijah, 11, Ashton, 6, and Aariyn, 1.

England is the founder of Tired Iron Classics in Four Oaks. He’s made a career out of selling restoration and repair parts for cars and motorcycles that are no longer available.

“We found the key to our business is versatility,” he said. “If we were just selling motorcycle stuff, there’s times of the year we wouldn’t have a business. If we were just selling power equipment stuff, there’s times of the year we wouldn’t have a business. So, all this stuff throughout the year helps us to stay steady in some form or fashion.”

He lives in Meadow with his wife, Amber, and daughter, Eleanor.

Boyette taught art at Princeton High School for 25 years, and is now the president of the Johnston County Arts Council. The council provides opportunities in the arts for county residents as well as helping to fund art programs and projects in the community.

“Whenever somebody else gets inspired, it makes me happy,” she said. “And if I helped a little bit, then that makes me happier.”

Gartin serves as coach for the Revolution, a wheelchair basketball team based in Clayton.

“Before you say your child can’t do it and I’m talking to myself here because I had initially said, ‘I don’t know about this,’ bring them out and let them get in the chair,” he said. “You come out and get in the chair, too. I guarantee you after one event, you’ll be hooked. It’s a great organization. I’m just blessed to be a part of it.”

Gartin lives in McGee’s Crossroads with his wife, Tiffany, son, James, 16, and 15-year-old Kylei.

Kincaid and Miller are both rising seniors at Smithfield-Selma High School.

Kincaid attends Greater Heights United Methodist in Clayton where she volunteers her time with Brown Bag Ministry, which is committed to fighting hunger in central North Carolina.

Miller attends Plymouth Church in Garner. She coordinated a National Honor Society visit to a rest home, where she led the group in making Valentine’s Day crafts.

Both young women have participated in mission work in Jamaica and an exchange program in Denmark.

Brewington leads the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program at South Johnston High School. He served in the Air Force for 22 years, which includes deployments to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I don’t really see them as students,” he said. “I have to remind myself that they are students. I see them as young adults. It’s hard to explain. I see the potential in what they can be. It amazes me, because these kids can do so much.”

Perricone lives in Clayton with her husband, Jim, and she’s always looking for ways to improve her community.

She was named the 2018 Clayton Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year, and was also a founding member of Clayton Women in Networking.

She also serves on the Clayton Arts Advisory Board, helped establish two fundraisers for Donate Life NC and donates her time to supporting the annual Harvest Festival and town Christmas parade.

“There’s always a need,” she said. “I love the people. The best people are volunteers, and you really do have a good time.”