Warmer heads prevailed: Neighbor outfits Hearne students with toboggans

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Wendy Moore saw a need and made a commitment to fill it.

Moore, who is member services director at the Wilson Family YMCA, lives at the corner of Green and Hill streets in Wilson near Margaret Hearne Elementary School.

"I see a lot of these kids all the time," Moore said. "This school is very special to me. This past winter, two brothers were walking past my house. They were usually joking and cutting up, but they were not joking and cutting up that day because it was so cold. It was 30 degrees out, and it was very cold. So I stopped and talked to them. They didn't have hats on, and that's when it hit me. A lot of these kids don't have hats."

Acting on her observation, Moore made it her goal to get every child at the school a hat.

Toboggans for Lil' Noggins was born.

Fellow YMCA members, friends and other community members stepped forward to contribute to the cause.

On Thursday, Moore visited the school and made a surprise delivery of blue toboggans to 424 students.

And it is right on time, as the first cold snap of the years is this weekend.

"We hope to see these 400 and some hats all over the neighborhood," Moore said.

The hats were designed by Tate Design Group in downtown Wilson with the Hearne Hornet and the YMCA logo on each one.

"I have been looking forward to this," Moore said.

"I think it's phenomenal. It's nice to see someone in the neighborhood take ownership of the school and the community," said Kelly Thomas, an administrative intern at the school. "By seeing students walking home with the need, she decided to take on this huge endeavor to help our students. It will be that Hornet pride walking around town."

Henry Mercer, a Wilson County School board member, was on hand as the toboggans were passed out.

"I think it's great," Mercer said. "I visit all the schools, and I am impressed. It is always good to know that the community cares. It's good for the children to know that the community cares.

They need to understand how special they are."

Kathryn Davis, executive director of the Wilson Family YMCA, was also there.

"My heart is so full of excitement and love and appreciation for our staff, who really care about he children in the community. Partnering with Hearne has been such a wonderful experience for us. They have been very receptive to our offers, and it is just a wonderful partnership," Davis said. 

Davis said, "They don't come any better than Wendy Moore.

"She cares about people. She cares about Wilson, and she particularly cares about this school, being in her neighborhood," Davis said. 

"She has embraced these children and has seen them walking to school without the appropriate outerwear, and so that was when she had the idea to provide hats for all of children at Margaret Hearne  and as the Y staff, we just got behind her efforts and supported her and we as just so proud of her today."