WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Three North Carolinians working to improve their communities received the 18th annual Nancy Susan Reynolds awards, named for a founder of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem.
Josie Ellis, a nurse who started a health-care program for Latino migrant workers in Jackson County, received the advocacy award.
Though she received threats and ran up against growers, local officials and others, Ellis helped to get migrant children into schools, get health care for migrant families and make her community more aware of migrant issues.
The race relations award went to Effley Howell Sr., who uses his large collection of black history memorabilia to teach race relations.
Howell, a full-time electronics inspector in Kernersville, travels to schools, churches, civic clubs and corporate offices with a message about the pain caused by racial prejudice and the benefits of racial harmony and cooperation.
Mary S. Mosley received the award for personal service for her efforts to mobilize neighbors, police and city government to push out criminal activity like drugs and prostitution from the Bottom neighborhood of Wilmington.
Mosley also started the Neighborhood Resource Center that offers one-on-one after school tutoring to help children achieve in school.
Each winner receives $25,000, and must give $20,000 of it to a nonprofit of their choice.
Since 1986, 59 people have received a total of $1.35 million.
The awards recognize “unsung heroes” in North Carolina, and several past winners have gone on to receive national recognition and have been the subjects of articles, documentaries and books.