Shared from the 2017-10-04 Gaston Gazette eEdition

Heart Society honors volunteers at annual meeting


Chris Peek


Dr. Jim Arter


Andrea Schrift


Chris Ashley


Johnathan Lowery


Walter Gray

The Heart Society of Gaston County’s Annual Meeting was held on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at the Gaston Country Club. Chris Peek, president and CEO of CaroMont Health presented the program. Dr. Jim Arter, president of the board of directors, presented awards to volunteers and businesses for their support of the Heart Society.

Bryan Farris was recognized as the recipient of the 19th annual Gold Heart Award. This award recognizes the contributions of individuals who have significantly promoted the mission and the goals of the Heart Society.

Farris joined the Heart Society’s board in 2009. He served three years on the executive committee, including a term as president. He actively serves on the Heart Ball and Open Heart Open Golf committees, utilizing his connections both in our community, as well as outside the county, to recruit sponsors and participants. He has led by example by being the presenting sponsor for these events and for the Heart Walk. In addition to his service on the board, he has promoted the Heart Society’s mission in his business by encouraging heart healthy choices for his employees and making it possible for the Heart Society to provide free cholesterol and blood pressure screenings. He also purchased an AED for his company, which saved the life of one of his employees who went into cardiac arrest. Farris has four children. He resides in Gastonia with his wife, Jami. He enjoys playing golf, traveling and he is an avid Panthers fan. He is the president of Farris Manufacturing. The award was co-sponsored by Dorothy Cherry, Amy Lawing, and Melissa Deaton in memory of their mother, Eunice Cherry, and Douglas R. Harris Jewelers for donating the design, labor and fabrication of the award.

The Jennie Craig Watson Award was presented to the Gaston County Jaycees. Five years ago, the Jaycees began providing a team of volunteers for the Heart Ball. Their service has helped improve the execution of months of planning for the Heart Ball. Andrea Schrift and Chris Ashley accepted the award on behalf of the Jaycees.

The WA Anthony Award was presented to McKenney Family Dealerships. McKenney Family Dealerships have supported the Heart Society’s special events since 2005. They are a supporter of the Open Heart Open Golf Tournament, and a sponsor for the Heart Ball.

The WL Balthis Award was presented to Walter Gray. He began his volunteerism with the Heart Society in 2011 when he joined the Board of Directors. He became a member of both the Heart Ball and Golf committees, recruiting sponsors and participants for both events. He served a term as president of the board in 2013-2014.

The following special event volunteers were recognized:

David Rogers, chairperson of the Golf Committee

Dr. Mark Thompson, chairperson of the Heart Ball

Brenda Helms, chairperson of the Heart Walk

Other volunteers recognized were Steve Campbell, Bryan Farris, Mike Fayed, John Forgan, Walter Gray, Edie Hancock, Steve Huffstetler, Gina Johnson, Dr. Alice Ann Kelly, Chris Leazer, Angie Ledford, Johnathan Lowery, Ken Mayhew, Barry Smith, Kim Tidwell, Chris Whelchel, Dr. Johnathan Williams, Betty Ann Wittenberg and Dr. Rachel Wruble.

Johnathan Lowery was recognized for his leadership and volunteerism as the president of the Heart Society’s Board of Directors in 2016-2017.

The Heart Society uses 100 percent of its resources in Gaston County to increase awareness of heart disease, to promote heart healthy lifestyles and to provide services to local heart patients. The Heart Society is funded by the United Way of Gaston County, special events, grants, and donations.

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