Sharon Runion Rowland, executive director of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service Foundation, has received the Gordon P. Allen Award for Public Service in recognition of her outstanding service to those in need, her ongoing support of her community and her dedication to all mankind.
The award was presented by North Carolina bankers to Rowland for her role in creating Camp Challenge at Sertoma 4-H Center in Stokes County. In its 18th year this summer, Camp Challenge will welcome rising North Carolina sixth, seventh and eighth graders from low-resource families, who are high achievers.
The youth at Camp Challenge study financial education, enhance their reading, writing and speaking skills, and concentrate on citizenship responsibilities, character development, conflict resolution and entrepreneurship. By the end of this summer’s session, 9,000 young North Carolinians will have had this unique learning experience. Sharon Runion Rowland shared the vision and made certain that the program was initiated and conducted with accountability and successful results.
This annual award is named for the late former State Senator Gordon P. Allen of Roxboro. His reputation for honesty and integrity led North Carolina’s banks to name their annual public service award in his honor. Past recipients include actress Andie McDowell, former State Chamber Chairman Barry Eveland, Eddie Williams of the North Carolina Baptist Men who spearheaded the building of homes in New Orleans ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, Kyle and Pattie Petty of Victory Junction Gang Camp which enriches the lives of children with chronic medical conditions and serious illnesses, and Moses Mathis — the “Bicycle Man” — who has repaired used bicycles for low-income children in Fayetteville and Cumberland County for 20 years.