Mayor James Roberson recognized those in the Knightdale Community who have gone above and beyond the call of duty for their Town at the semiannual Mayor’s Awards for Commitment to Community. Councilor Jessica Day welcomed recipients and guests to the ceremony, stating about those who are being honored, “Whether it is through volunteerism, through support of our community events, or through providing services to Knightdale, these good Samaritans are helping to solidify Knightdale as one of the best places to live, work and play.” She said, “Money Magazine rated Knightdale as one of the top 100 Best Places to Live in the US, and it is because of you.”
As Keynote Speaker, North Carolina Senator Dan Blue pointed to the history of Knightdale, and the resilience, and drive of the people of Knightdale. He said “It is the people of Knightdale who make this such a special place.” Senator Blue highlighted how Knightdale citizens have consistently come together to help each other, creating the strong sense of community. Senator Blue gave credit to that sense of community, which has grown along with Knightdale from 700 residents in the 80’s to the approximately 16,000 residents today.
Mayor James Roberson then spoke about what this award means to him. “Those of you who are here tonight have made significant investments and we would like to honor you. You assisted in making Knightdale the place to start something.” He recognized Town Council, and the hard decisions they have to make. He also recognized Knightdale staff for their commitment to carrying out the tasks to make the Council’s direction come to fruition. The Mayor then asked all those who live or work in Knightdale to stand and recognized everyone in the audience for their involvement in Knightdale’s success.
The Mayor’s Award for Commitment to Community was created to celebrate those individuals in our town that have a demonstrated commitment to Knightdale through their efforts to make our community better. Each of their various efforts have made a difference. Whether it is building a new business, supporting neighbors, volunteering in our schools, ensuring support programs in Knightdale are a success, their dedication is the fabric of our community. They have made a difference. It does not matter how great or how small, they make Knightdale better.
Below is a list of the recipients of the Knightdale Mayor’s Award for Commitment to Community:
1. Billy McGee – Sports Page
The Sports Page has been a long time stakeholder in the Town of Knightdale, and is an institution when it comes to restaurants and food service in our town. Through their commitment to bettering the quality of life in Knightdale, Sports Page has proved to be a consistent and reliable benefactor to the Town as a gathering place for all town residents and visitors. Billy also supports Knightdale High school by preparing weekly meals for the football team, and has served as a mentor to players, assisting them in their future success. We would like to recognize Billy McGee and the Sports Page for their commitment to our community.
2. James Argent
A former Physical Education teacher and Curriculum Coordinator, Dr. Argent was named principal of Knightdale High School in 2014. He led the school through a redesign process during the 2014-2015 school year to become Knightdale High School of Collaborative Design. Dr. Argent opened Lake Myra Elementary School in 2009 and was a principal at Swift Creek Elementary School. To say that he has had an impact on the Town of Knightdale would not encapsulate the effect his work has had on countless Knightdale residents, especially Knightdale children. For your past, current and future support of the families and educational programming in Knightdale, we want to honor your commitment to the Knightdale Community.
3. Jarrod Scott – Green Pines Baptist Church
Pastor Jarrod Scott has been serving as Senior Pastor at Green Pines Church since 2005. Since he began his work at Green Pines, he and his congregation have been involved in many community oriented activities including, but not limited to starting a Food Pantry as a service to local families in need, collecting and delivering hot meals to those in need as Meals on Wheels representatives, holding volunteer services for the Carillon assisted living facility, and supporting local schools and their teachers by sponsoring Teacher Appreciation Lunches. These and countless other contributions have.
4. Henrietta Vazquez
Henrietta Vazquez, a passionate ESL teacher from East Wake Middle School, truly goes above and beyond for her students and their families. Ms. Vazquez advocates for her students in many ways. She has written multiple grants that have enabled her to obtain everything from school supplies to free personal computers for families in the community learning English as a second language. Ms. Vazquez provides support to teachers and administrators regarding policies and procedures to help her ESL students. In addition, she also advocates at the school and county level for an after-school tutoring program as well as a track-out tutoring program for ESL students. She is now the Coordinator for both programs and has elicited fellow teachers to help tutor the students. Ms. Vazquez displayed a tremendous work ethic and true dedication to her trade. Her communication with both students and parents give those learning English as a second language someone with whom they can trust and count on. Ms. Vazquez, thank you for your continued commitment to community. We are grateful for your passion.
5. John Bruce Parrish
The story of the early days of our Town is peppered with John Parrish stories. From the first water main installation in 1952, to the current exhibit about Knightdale in the Raleigh Convention Center, John Parrish has supported this town throughout his life. He also continues to support residents of Knightdale, never turning away someone who needs help. No matter how large or seemingly small the task, Mr. Parrish is happy to help. John continues to be a thread in the culture and history of this great Town.
6. James S. Utley – Malaby’s Crossroads Church
Dr. Utley came to Malaby’s Crossroads Missionary Baptist Church in 2004, embracing the Knightdale community and bringing with him a love for assisting his congregation and local community. His background includes serving the greater community in the US Airforce for 20 years. He has served in many roles throughout his career as a servant of the people, solidifying his career as an ordained Pastor in 1997. Under his direction the congregation has taken on many community oriented support programs, including the annual “Rainbow Tea Fundraiser”, raising money to support college education for the church’s youth, and many presentations to assist with community education on subjects like “Rental and Home Ownership”, “Engaging and assisting Clients who are HIV positive and Homeless”, and “Economic Mobility Disruptions”. These are only a few of the community support programs offered, and we want to recognize Dr. Utley for his support of the programs that make Knightdale a better place.
7. Representative Darren Jackson
Representative Darren Jackson grew up in the East Wake/Knightdale area, and has supported the Knightdale community through many paths, including serving as our district in the North Carolina House of Representatives since 2009, and the House Minority Leader since the beginning of the 2017-18 session of the NC General Assembly. Representative Jackson has introduced or supported countless pieces of legislation that benefit the Town of Knightdale, and has had a direct influence on our success as a community. Representative Jackson has worked hard to be accessible to local government, and has continued to build his personal support of local programs benefiting Knightdale inclsuing the Knightdale Education and Arts Festival.
8. Russell Killen
Mayor Killen served as a Knightdale Town Councilor from 2003 to 2007, and as Knightdale’s Mayor from 2007-2015. In his time as a servant of the Knightdale community he guided the Town through a defining moment in our history, providing the framework that has helped Knightdale become the community it is today. He made sure the initial focus of interest many took in the Knightdale area was managed by a balanced approach, maintaining equilibrium between development and the community culture that had already developed. His support has not wavered after leaving office, and Mayor Killen is still involved in the community, providing support to many programs.
9. Two Green Thumbs
The Two Green Thumbs Garden Club has been a community partner for over 18 years, promoting gardening throughout the Town of Knightdale. The Club maintains flower beds at the current Knightdale Blue Star Memorial, the Rex Wellness Center on Knightdale Boulevard, and the East Regional Library. They have also assisted in the moving of the Blue Star Memorial to its new home in 2019 at Knightdale Station Park Veterans Plaza, where they will be able to celebrate their annual Veterans Day Tribute, including a special wreath-laying ceremony and flower-laying tribute to thank Veterans for their service. Their interest in maintaining and beautifying Knightdale, while also honoring our Veterans shows their unwavering commitment to our community.
10. Zach Dobbin
Zach, a local Knightdale High School senior has served the Town of Knightdale as a student intern for the past year. Zach has explored almost every department here at the Town, learning what it means to run a municipality. Zach is an exemplary student who aspires to enter the medical field. He is also a dedicated Knightdale High football player who takes his commitment very seriously. During his time as a high school student, Zach has assisted in the planning and implementation of blood drive initiatives at his school and helped to create and practice emergency plans to ensure the safety of his fellow classmates. Zach, your efforts demonstrate someone who has a heart for the community, and we look forward to your future successes.
11. Selena Perez
Selena, another senior from Knightdale High School of Collaborative Design, has also spent time as a student intern with the Town of Knightdale. Selena is an outstanding student who is dedicated to making the world a better place. Selena works with her school to reach the Spanish speaking families in the community to ensure they are equally as informed as others. She has also participated as a Link Crew Leader, an honor only bestowed upon select students who demonstrate elite qualities and represent the school to incoming students. During her time with the Town, Selena showed enthusiasm for learning and a genuine interest in how the Town works to serve the community.
12. Whitney Ledford
Whitney Ledford has shown throughout her almost 3 years with the Town of Knightdale that she is committed to the Knightdale community as the Knightdale Town Clerk. She has consistently assisted the Mayor, Town Council, Knightdale Staff, and Residents in creating and providing support programs to the Knightdale Community, including assisting with the Knightdale Education Festival. She also created educational programming to assist in outreach to Knightdale 3rd graders, bringing them to Town Hall to learn about the municipal government process.
13. William and Deborah Holder
Mr. and Mrs. Holder have served our community well in two different ways. They have served us food through their McDonalds restaurant, which recently renovated, and they have served the Knightdale community by bringing the McDonald’s programs into the town through their restaurant and company. They hire local talent, either in high school, out of high school, or adults, and offer them many options for McDonalds to support their education. There are scholarships, internal educational opportunities, all there to ensure the professional and personal success of their employees. The Holders have even gone so far as to support K-Fest, the Knightdale Education and Arts Festival whose mission is to support those from the underserved communities with educational needs unmet. We are excited to have them in our community and appreciate their commitment to Knightdale.
Source: Jonas Silver, Town of Knightdale NC