WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

‘A community builder’: DuWanda Epps named Humanitarian of the Year

By Brie Handgraaf

Times Staff Writer
Posted 2/24/17

The fields of focus were varied among the 28 philanthropists nominated Friday for the city of Wilson’s Human Relations Awards, but their shared passion for the community was undeniable to all in attendance.

“Each one of these before …

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‘A community builder’: DuWanda Epps named Humanitarian of the Year

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Posted
The fields of focus were varied among the 28 philanthropists nominated Friday for the city of Wilson’s Human Relations Awards, but their shared passion for the community was undeniable to all in attendance.

“Each one of these before you has dedicated their lives to helping others in a unique way,” said Wilson Human Relations Director Renee Smith. “Their passion is not just a weekend activity, it is something that seeps into their lives and spills out into the community to help others.”

The most prestigious award given out at the 46th annual event was the Paul Lee Stevens Humanitarian of the Year Award, which went to DuWanda S. Epps. The sold-out crowd of 300 people erupted in applause as the mentor and life coach was moved to tears by the honor, which recognizes unselfish commitment to Wilson’s residents in need.

“A letter shared, ‘DuWanda is productive, graceful, kind, loving and a positive role model for women,’” Smith said. “’Most important, she is humble.’”

Epps, who moved to Wilson from Ohio a decade ago, founded the CreativeMindz book lounge and Cultivating Change II programs before recently starting the Women Rebuilding & Transforming program to provide battered women with free life coaching.

“As one letter of recommendation said, ‘DuWanda strives to utilize every opportunity to raise awareness about social issues,” said Smith. “’She is a community builder and not afraid to address issues that some may shy away from.”

Five other awards were presented including: the Good Neighbor Award to John Lucas, the Community Spirit Award to the Wilson Luncheon Lions Club, the Inspirational Volunteer Award to Jeremy Munn, the Community Initiative Award to Priscilla Morello and the Youth on the Move Award to Hunt High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC unit.

“If nothing else gets to you tonight, take a look at the faces of our youth and let all the programs, initiatives and volunteering they do sink in for just a moment,” said Gillettia Morgan, a Human Relations Commission member. “Clearly we have a great future in Wilson with these amazing young leaders in our community.”

bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com | 265-7821

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