Pigeon River Award. Gail Heathman, education coordinator for the Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District, won this award honoring individuals and organizations that contribute to protecting Haywood’s land and water resources. A longtime volunteer with Kids in the Creek, Heathman served on HWA’s board of directors from 2010 to 2012 and leads ongoing experiential education opportunities for youth.
Big Creek Award for Partner of the Year. The town of Maggie Valley received this award for its work to protect and enhance Jonathan Creek through stream cleanups, reducing stormwater impacts and increasing public access points and greenway trails.
Lake Junaluska Award for Volunteer of the Year. This award was a tie between Don Ebaugh, director of property management at Lake Junaluska Assembly, and husband and wife team Larry and Kelly Rice. Ebaugh was recognized for his service on HWA’s board since 2001. The Rices joined HWA much more recently, in 2015, and are frequent participants at a variety of HWA service events.
In addition, Shannon Rabby was honored for his service on the HWA board from 2014 to 2016, with a $50 donation made in his honor to the Pink Francis Scholarship Fund at Haywood Community College. Rabby is HCC’s lead instructor of fish and wildlife management technology.
Dinner and awards were funded by Derric and Donna Brown, Yvonne Kolomechuk - Keller Williams Great Smokies, Pigeon River Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Town of Clyde and Town of Waynesville.