Otis Morton (Mort) Congleton
For four decades Mort Congleton worked in local government, public service, and higher education to improve Raleigh. The projects and initiatives he initiated and supported focused on helping individuals reach their potential. Congleton served as the Executive Director of the Wake Tech Community College Foundation. Under his leadership, the Foundation’s assets grew from $2.5 million to more than $12.5 million. Additionally, Congleton led efforts to create a partnership called Fostering Bright Futures to help young adults aging out of foster care. Bright Futures affords recipients access to tutoring, mentoring, and assistance with housing. The program serves as a model for other institutions. His work has helped Wake Tech positively impact the lives of students and their families. He has served his community in other areas as well. On the Raleigh City Council his openness and collaborative spirit helped many projects reach their completion. Mort Congleton devoted his time and resources to United Cerebral Palsy serving as both State President and co-chair of the Capital Campaign for the Charlie Gaddy Development Center. Due to his efforts and advocacy, the state legislature created the Ombudsman Program for Nursing Homes across North Carolina to protect the interests of seniors. As the Executive Director of the SPCA of Wake County he played a pivotal role in launching the nationally recognized Curtis Dail Pet Adoption Center. Mort Congleton is an ambassador for Raleigh and represents the spirit of its citizens.
Dr. William “Bill” Weston Hedrick
Dr. William “Bill” Weston Hedrick is a Raleigh native born at Rex Hospital’s original location. After graduating from Wake Forest College and Bowman Gray School of Medicine, he served as a Captain in the US Army Medical Corps, returning to Raleigh thereafter to open his medical practice.William Hedrick has provided continuous healthcare to his hometown and the wider community for 56 years. He is famous for his house-calls and treating patients regardless of their ability to pay. Over the years he’s graciously accepted vegetables and cakes as payment for medical care. After five decades of service he shows few signs of slowing down. Dr. Hedrick continues to care for patients who have been with him since 1962, and in many cases, their children and grandchildren. He also operated the first emergency room at Wake Memorial Hospital (now WakeMed) and was the Chief Medical Examiner for Raleigh and Wake County. Moreover, Hedrick served as president of the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians. But Dr. Hedrick’s reach extends beyond medicine. He owned and operated the French restaurant Seth Jones 1847, an establishment known for its glamour and fine dining. William Hedrick also donated land from his cherished family farm to the citizens of Raleigh. When his family sold the land to the City of Raleigh, it included the donation of property that is now the Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve. Dr. William Hedrick’s legacy is a life and career dedicated to improving Raleigh’s health and cultural landscape. In 1997 he received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians.Last year the City of Raleigh honored Dr. Hedrick and his wife by officially naming their family homeplace at Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve the “Dr. Bill and Merrie Hedrick Homestead”.
Chief Justice Burley B. Mitchell, Jr.
John Leandro v. State of North Carolina is a landmark case that established that every child has the right to a sound education in public schools. Chief Justice Burley B. Mitchell wrote the court opinion for that case, and it typifies the landmark career and impact that he has had on Raleigh, on North Carolina, and the United States. Chief Justice Mitchell’s exemplary record of civil service began with a hitch in the Navy. After his military service, he established a notable career in state government. Chief Justice Mitchell’s 30-year history of achievement in the state court system began as an Assistant Attorney General, 1969-72, and culminated in his tenure as Chief Justice, 1995-99. During his time on the bench, he wrote over 480 appellate decisions, and contributed to North Carolina’s body of law in the area of freedom of expression, and the protection of other constitutional rights. In addition to his lengthy service in the law, Chief Justice Mitchell invigorates the community through his leadership in various service organizations. For example, joining as its first chairman, Chief Justice Mitchell served on the board of directors of the North Carolina New Schools Project, an organization that develops and supports innovative high schools.
Thomas H. Sayre
Thomas Sayre is most known locally for his large public sculptures throughout the Raleigh area such as Gyre at the NC Museum of Art, the Shimmer Wall on the Raleigh Convention Center, the World Wall at the Marbles Kids Museum, Overtones at the Aloft Hotel on Hillsborough Street, Oberlin Rising located on Oberlin Road, and a host of more private settings. Beyond Raleigh, Thomas has completed over 50 projects all across the U.S. in cities such as Denver, Tucson, Portland, Washington, DC, New York City, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Baltimore. Internationally, Sayre has been commissioned to do sculptures in Istanbul, Turkey, Phuket, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Calgary Canada. In the late 1980s Thomas moved to downtown Raleigh before it was fashionable establishing his studio, residence, and Clearscapes with architect Steve Schuster in the warehouse district. Clearscapes has worked on numerous downtown projects including the Tucker Furniture Building, the Montague Building, CAM Raleigh, Marbles, and most recently, Raleigh Union Station. For more than a decade, Sayre has sat on the North Carolina Arts Council, served on the founding board of Raleigh’s Public Art & Design Board for which he wrote the enabling ordinances. Sayre received the North Carolina Award, which is the highest civilian award granted in this state, the Raleigh Medal of Arts, as well as receiving an Honorary Doctorate in Art from NCSU. Thomas has championed the importance of public art in communities both large and small where stories about community make public spaces the vibrant places they can be.
Ronald Dean Shavlik
The winning role that Ronald Shavlik exhibited in his All-American basketball career also characterized his business career and position as a community leader. At North Carolina State University, 1953-1956, Ronald (Ronnie to his many admirers) was twice named All American, and ACC Basketball Player of the year in 1956. If those honors weren’t enough for any college student, in his senior year, the entrepreneur Ronnie started a business, Carolina Maintenance and Janitorial Supply. He built it into one of the leading maintenance and janitorial supply companies in the southeast. In addition to his success on the basketball court and business ventures, Ronnie’s support of charitable and civic organizations was nothing but net. His dedicated service on boards, advisory councils, university coach’s selection committees, and numerous other panels brought him recognition locally, statewide, and nationally. He garnered the North Carolina Employer of the Year in 1963 and the Meritorious Award from President Johnson in 1965 for his leadership in the employment of the physically and mentally challenged. Ronnie’s exemplary legacy lives on in numerous ways. One example: he started the Shavlik Summer Basketball League in Southeast Raleigh in 1975 to encourage local youths to set goals and develop a work ethic. This program continues today, operated by Raleigh Parks and Recreation.
A.C. Snow grew up in Surry County near Winston-Salem in a large family. Being the youngest of 15 siblings might have generated his love and enjoyment of people of all stripes, and his skill in writing about them: neighbors (broadly defined); movers and shakers; those who struggle to survive. After graduating as his high school’s valedictorian, A.C. was drafted and served in Air Force during World War II in the Pacific theater, in cryptography. Returning stateside, he enrolled in college on the G.I. Bill and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill, Phi Beta Kappa, with a degree in journalism. A.C. secured a job with the Raleigh Times in 1957, rising to the position of editor from 1973 to 1989 when the paper folded. He then moved to the Raleigh News and Observer where he became a revered columnist who still publishes in the Sunday edition. His long beat has been varied – from Raleigh’s struggles with school integration, its politics, its growth, to the more personal… enduring the death of a child to keeping squirrels out of the bird feeder. In 1993, A.C. was inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame at UNC. He is the oldest member who still writes every week. Besides that honor, there is a scholarship in his name at the school. To many people in and out of the city, A.C. Snow is a vibrant voice of Raleigh.
Millie Dunn Veasey
Millie Dunn Veasey was a true pioneer. Born and raised in Raleigh, she grew up during the Great Depression and attended Raleigh public schools. Veasey graduated from Washington High School the year after America entered World War II. She enlisted in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps serving in the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. In the era of racial segregation, the 6888th constituted the only all-black, all-female battalion stationed overseas in World War Two. At the time of her honorable discharge she held the rank of Staff Sergeant. The G.I. Bill afforded her the opportunity to graduate from Saint Augustine’s College (now University) with a degree in Business Administration. Later in life she returned to the college as Executive Secretary for two presidents – Dr. James Boyer and Dr. Prezell Robinson. Veasey was the first woman to lead the Raleigh Chapter of the NAACP. As a community activist, she worked with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr and Thurgood Marshall. In fact, she sat next to King at the March on Washington and was active in the National Federation of Democratic Women and the American Legion. President Barack Obama saluted her at an event commemorating World War II veterans. In 2018 the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation honored her with the “Distinguished Veteran Living Legend Award.”
Robert “Bob” Webb Wynne III
Robert (Bob) Wynne III has long exhibited inclusive leadership in a variety roles: President of Raleigh’s oldest business, Brown-Wynne Funeral Home; engaged civic advocate; dedicated church layman; inspired education promoter; progressive state legislator. Bob graduated from Broughton High School and Davidson College. After serving in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps, he returned to Raleigh and immersed himself in public life. Bob served two terms in the State House (1970-74) and three terms in the State Senate (1976-82), during which, among other achievements, he championed the development of Fletcher Park, the initial funding for the North Carolina Zoo, the establishment of the NCSU School of Veterinary Medicine, and the merger of the Wake County and Raleigh City School Systems. Later, he chaired the Board of Trustees of Montreat College and the Board of Visitors of Peace College. Guided by his faith, Bob has worked to promote understanding across racial and socioeconomic divides. In 1969, he led the integration of the 470-member Jaycees. He was founding Chairman of Building Together Ministries and a charter member of their reconciliation dinners. Bob understands that policy alone does not bring a city together.
Haven House Services
Haven House Services has helped our community’s most vulnerable youth for over 40 years. From the beginning Haven House Services played a vital role for those facing difficult situations. Initially a group home for girls, the agency shifted to co-ed research driven community-based programs. Since the 1980s, Haven House Services has developed programs to specifically solve community problems and meet the needs of families in Raleigh and Wake County. Each youth has their own story. Some youth arrive homeless and in crisis. Others may need someone to provide guidance and a path to a second chance. No matter the journey that leads them to Haven House Services, at-risk youth find support from a committed staff. Haven House provides programs to help youth chart a new course. The knowledgeable, dedicated, and highly qualified staff members make that light shine for more than 1,300 youth and their families each year. The longevity of the organization rests with its ability to adapt and meet the needs of the ever-changing demographics of Raleigh. It is difficult to imagine Raleigh without Haven House Services. The true legacy of Haven House Services is that a youth in crisis has a place to access resources in a supportive environment. It is a beacon of hope for youth when all seems lost and hopeless.
Rex Healthcare Guild
Established in 1936, the Rex Healthcare Guild maintains its beneficial impact on area healthcare by providing energy, ideas, and a personal touch to improve patient care. Its mission to assist Rex Healthcare, Inc. is achieved through volunteerism and financial support. Since the Guild formed, it has helped patients with their medical bills, served meals to needy families, donated money for expensive state-of-the-art medical equipment, and beautified the hospital and grounds to create a recuperative environment for patients and their families. In addition, the Guild funds nursing care and prescriptions for needy patients. Other funding is provided to nursing certification and scholarship programs, and in 2006, the Rex Palliative Care Program was started with money provided by the Guild. The Palliative Care Program supports and eases the stress of the growing population of patients with debilitating diseases and life-threatening illnesses. All this service and assistance to the community is accomplished with the help of volunteers. In just the last fifteen years, volunteers have donated 2,027,993 hours in every department of the hospital. For over 80 years, thousands of people have volunteered at Rex, and many more have been the beneficiaries of their good works.
Father Thomas Frederick Price
Thomas Frederick Price was the first native North Carolinian ordained a Catholic priest. In 1896 he was appointed the Pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Hillsborough Street. His twofold mission was to spread Catholicism and care for children in need. He published Truth magazine to address the Catholic faith and the political, economic, and agricultural concerns of the state. The publication reached over 20,000 people. Father Price lived and ministered in Raleigh from 1896 to 1911. Part of his legacy is the Nazareth orphanage he started in 1899 on the western edge of the city. Father Price opened an orphanage for boys. Years later the Sisters of Mercy closed their orphanage moving their girls from Belmont to Nazareth. At the height of the Depression the orphanage cared for as many as 250 children who were accepted from across the state without regard to religious affiliation. Father Price’s orphanage cared for the poor giving them a stable place to call home and a good education. In 1911 he joined Father James Walsh to found Maryknoll, the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America. Today the society has missions in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Cantey McDowell Venable Sutton
If we should fail?
But screw your courage to the sticking place,
And we’ll not fail.
In those lines from Shakespeare’s play, the unladylike Lady Macbeth exhorts her hapless husband to commit regicide. Criminal, yes. Yet, her encouraging words can be applied to the leadership of Cantey McDowell Venable Sutton in her efforts in the late 1930s to establish the Raleigh Little Theatre and the Raleigh Rose Garden. Coincidentally, she also starred in the theater’s first production of Macbeth. Ms. Sutton pursued several roles—talented artist, author, philanthropist, performer, and volunteer—but perhaps her greatest role was as the primary driver of the development of the Raleigh Little Theatre. And her courage was firmly fixed to the sticking place. As noted in Curtain Up! Raleigh Little Theatre’s First Fifty Years, Guy Munger writes that the story of the Raleigh Little Theatre is “…a blend of bureaucratic bungling, deliberate obstructionism by government functionaries, and the tenacity of one woman, Cantey Venable Sutton.” That tenacity has provided over a million theater-goers with quality entertainment. Later on, Ms. Sutton mentored aspiring young actors and a new generation of arts advocates, and kept an active schedule of speeches to community groups about the arts. Thanks to her, Raleigh has an enviable theatre complex that includes three performance spaces, an amphitheater, and a flexible black-box theatre. It also houses an award-winning Youth Theatre Program.