BY DEBBIE PAGE

The Troutman Town Council on Thursday honored Donna Lambert of H.E.L.P. Ministries of Troutman as the Citizen of the Year and Lowe’s Home Improvement as the Organization of the Year.

CITIZEN OF THE YEAR

Donna Lambert is the volunteer president of H.E.L.P. Ministries and oversees approximately 40 volunteers and the collection of 1,200 to 2,000 pounds of food each week. 

Once the food is logged, Lambert and volunteers begin the process of getting groceries ready for delivery or pick up. The ministry serves an average of 40 to 45 families, totaling about 125 people. In addition to those families, up to 100 homeless people also get assistance.

The organization partners with Second Harvest Food Bank, the Troutman Food Lion, local churches, and numerous individuals who donate food items.

“This is, unfortunately, a great need. Donna is proving by her actions that helping people in our community without self-promotion is a blessing and labor of love for our neighbors,” said nominator James Tabor.

After accepting the plaque from Mayor Teross Young, Lambert thanked her “tribe” for making the work of H.E.L.P Ministries possible. With the need for food and other assistance growing, the group is looking at alternate locations to expand its services.

The organization is especially focused on making sure the community’s children are fed, which becomes more difficult for families once they lose breakfast and lunch assistance as school ends.

Lambert said their clients are “their driving force.” The group is planning a community event in the near future to bring the entire community together to connect and get to know the work of H.E.L.P. Ministries.

“Many people do not know about us, but that is about to change,” said Lambert.

She urged community members to volunteer with the organization to help others and to “get their own hearts blessed.” The ministry runs a “lunchbox” program, a wood ministry, and a Samaritan’s ministry.

The group is also reviving its “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program, which helps people with projects like wheelchair ramps or minor home repairs.

ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR

Lowe’s Home Improvement was nominated by Parks and Recreation Director Emily Watson and Code Enforcement Officer Shane Harris because the company has been a consistent community partner to the Town of Troutman for many years.

“They are always seeking ways to support, donate, volunteer, and/or collaborate,” said Watson.

Some of the programs and activities Lowe’s has assisted with are town parades, the Pet Pantry Girl Scout project, the volleyball court renovations, K-9 unit kennels and doghouse donations, lights for the Walk of Heroes, Trails and Treats, and American flag donations for the Richardson Greenway.

Harris also mentioned Lowe’s help with the maintenance of the baseball and softball fields at Troutman Middle School by fixing drainage issues and supplying the equipment and resources needed to fix the problem.

The company also donated plants for the South Iredell High prom, a trailer for the DARE program, and new appliances to all the schools in the Troutman area.

“Lowe’s has ensured that we have the grass seed and field needs anticipated for sports play. We can’t thank them enough for all they have done to contribute to our community, our events, nonprofits, and projects that make our town a great place to live and work,” added Watson.

Mike Chapin and Emily Cannady accepted the plaque on behalf of Troutman resident and 2023 Lowe’s Home Improvement Manager of the Year Jake Rollins.

“We really appreciate this honor,” said Chapin. “It really aligns with our core values of giving back to the community and being involved. We thank the council and the town for its continuous partnership.”

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH

Troutman Elementary SRO Jonathan Lyons was recognized as the Town of Troutman Employee of the Month for April. Police Chief Josh Watson said that he often gets compliments about Lyons, who has been with the department for 3 1/2 years, from parents, teachers, school administrators, and students about the positive things he is doing for the school and students.

Lyons is often seen interacting and laughing with the kids, building important relationships. He spends a significant part of his off time attending all kinds of sporting events all over the county to support TES students.

Lyons also created the Lyons Pride Award that he gives to a student at the end of the school year.

“He goes above and beyond to engage with the students, making positive interactions with them and the community in general. He’s worked really hard to gain the trust of the students and provides a listening ear and guides the kids in a positive way,” said Watson.

One student was very anti-police, said Watson, but Lyons’ ability to build a relationship with the student completely changed that belief.

OTHER BUSINESS

Council members also passed 3-0 (Council members Nau and Harris absent):

♦ A text amendment to the article regulating campaign signs in the Troutman UDO.

♦ A text amendment to the article regulating accessory structures (residential) and (commercial) that address fencing aesthetics in the Troutrman UDO.

♦ An audit contract with Thompson, Price, Scott & Adams for fiscal year 2025.

♦ Authorization for the Mayor to sign a 5-year sanitation service contract (with a possible 2-year extension) with Waste Pro at $18.52 per household per month (estimated at $644,940.48 annually).

♦ Demolition of an abandoned and crumbling residential structure located at 135 Ruffin Loop that poses a public danger.

♦ Building elevation as recommended by the Design Review Board to include materials and colors for the Doryian Senior Apartments (Corner of Lytton Street and Talley Street).

♦ A June 13 hearing date to consider annexation requests for 2.02 acres at 774 South Main Street and 1.227 acres at 466 & 470 E. Monbo Road.

♦ A resolution to award a service firearm to retiring officer Wayne Elmore of the Troutman Police Department.

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