From 1986-2010, The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation annually presented North Carolina citizens with the Nancy Susan Reynolds Awards. The awards, which included a $25,000 payment ($20,000 to be donated to a charity of the recipient's choice; and $5,000 for the recipient) went to individuals in one of three categories –Race Relations (originally designated Community Change), Advocacy, and Personal Service. Recipients were unsung heroes who made an impact in North Carolina communities.
In 1989, Ocracoke resident Karen Lovejoy was honored with the award for Personal Service. The other recipients, pictured below with Karen, were Willie I. Patterson (Community Change), Lowery W. Reid (Community Change) and Leo J. Teachout (Advocacy).
As part of Karen's nomination process, nearly two dozen island residents (colleagues, friends, students, and neighbors) submitted written testimonies to Karen's impact on our island community.
The Z. Smith Reynolds website includes this tribute to Karen:
"Karen Lovejoy has made a difference in the lives of nearly all 700 of her fellow inhabitants of Ocracoke Island. When she arrived there 10 years ago, it was for a job: special education teacher at the Ocracoke Island School. Most would have scoffed at the daunting task of teaching each of the school’s exceptional children, from kindergarten to 12th grade, but Lovejoy has taken up the challenge with energy and devotion.
"Whether it be learning Braille so she could help a blind student, or teaching sign language to a deaf student and his family, Lovejoy has gone well beyond her job description. Students treasure her willingness to listen and her knack for imparting self-confidence.
"Outside school, Lovejoy's dedication to others does not end. She visits senior citizens and takes a genuine interest in their lives. She and her husband, David Frum, founded a running club that takes young people to meets all over the state. She organized a foreign-exchange program that has exposed students to experiences far beyond their small, isolated island.
"Then there are the tales about her uniquely personal service to her neighbors, whatever their needs. 'In all of her tasks,' says one admirer, 'she makes true the word "trust." She energizes the word "enable," and she makes vital and caring and promising the words of her own name - "love" and "joy."'"
Karen and her husband Dave live on Ocracoke to this day, and Karen continues to enrich our community with her enthusiasm for life and her concern for others. As you might guess, Karen is modest and does not advertise her award. As a result, many of today's island residents are unaware of this special recognition Karen received in 1989. When you see her, please let her know how much we appreciate all she's done for this community. (But please don't tell her I wrote this, or she will take me to task!)
To be notified when we publish a new post simply add your
email address in the box at the top right and click "submit."