19 April, 2017
The Gadsden State Community College Cardinal Foundation sponsored the second annual Everyday Heroes Breakfast today at the One Stop Center on the East Broad Street Campus. They were presented awards by Dr. Martha Lavender, president of Gadsden State.
“We honored deserving heroes who have made a difference in the lives of others through volunteerism, bravery and selflessness as well as those who have bravely endured hardships or struggles,” said Brian Snell, president of the Cardinal Foundation Board of Directors. “It was a wonderful event. The Cardinal Foundation is proud to be a part of it.”
A committee was formed to select five honorees from among the nominations submitted. Nominations came from the three counties where Gadsden State educational sites are located – Etowah, Cherokee and Calhoun counties.
The honorees were recognized by those who nominated them for the Everyday Hero Award. Honorees include:
Butts was nominated by Heather Brothers New, president of The Chamber of Gadsden/Etowah. He is a basketball coach and educator at Albertville High School. He is the former women’s basketball coach at Gadsden State. Having suffered a spinal cord injury in a freak accident at his Camp Sibert Home in 2015, Butts has persevered through his recovery. Though still wheelchair-dependent, Butts has returned to coaching basketball and remains an inspiration to all.
Wae and Mary Ellis
The Ellises were nominated by Thereasa Hulgan, director of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce. The Cherokee County natives and former Gadsden State students are founders of a support group called RhizoKids International. The organization was formed after their first child, Ian, was born with a genetic disorder called Rhizomelic Chondrodysplasia Punctata, which is a rare and fatal form of dwarfism. Though Ian died at 2 years old, the Ellises still fight to find a cure and raise money to go toward research.
Rugenia Moore Henry
Moore was nominated by Princess King, a financial aid clerk at Gadsden State. She has worked as a teacher, administrator and counselor in the South and Midwest. She currently works at a special needs private school. She has won numerous awards and earned recognitions, including Teacher of the Year in both Arkansas and Tennessee. She is a community volunteer who organizes beautification days in East Gadsden neighborhoods.
Steve and Suzanne Scharfenberg
The Scharfenbergs were nominated by Deborah Reynolds, an instructor at Gadsden State. They are the founders of Habitat for Humanity of Gadsden/Etowah as well as the affiliate in Troy, Ala. They have been active in many organizations, including the United Way of Etowah County, the Cultural Arts League and the Etowah Free Community Clinic. They co-chair the Habitat Dragon Boat Festival and have been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity for 24 years.
Waters was nominated by Dr. Vicki Atwood, a family friend. Waters is a graduate of Oxford High School and Jacksonville State University. He is currently a second-year graduate student at Asbury Seminary, where he is studying the pipe organ. He is the founder of Reaching Out International, a non-profit organization that serves up to 7,000 people a month in Calhoun, Cleburne and Randolph counties. He has also traveled to Mexico, Cuba, Peru and Jerusalem to help feed the hungry.