Each year the North Carolina Baptist Foundation and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina sponsor the Baptist Heritage Awards where Baptist organizations recognize the efforts of distinct N.C. Baptists. This was the 17th annual event. The ceremony was April 25 at the Grandover Resort & Conference Center in Greensboro. Listed alphabetically by university or organization:
Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, lnc. (BCH) – Jay D. Westmoreland
Jay D. Westmoreland
Elizabeth Baptist Church in Shelby is Jay Westmoreland’s home church where he learned values of faith, family and friends. He carried that foundational trio through high school and Clemson University.
He and his wife, Scarlett, and their two children are members of First Baptist Church in Charlotte. He has served in many major elected and appointed positions at his church, including chairman of deacons. For BCH, West-moreland began an initiative called “Bike for Change” at his church.
Every year, on a Saturday morning in October, children from First Baptist ride their bikes as a fund-raiser for BCH. The children also collected “change” following a worship service. Over the last decade and a half, the initiative has raised $312,889.80.
He recently finished a term as chairman of BCH’s Board of Trustees. He supported the three-year Sharing Hope … Changing Lives capital campaign and served as the chairman of the Metrolina Division. A Christian businessman, Westmoreland was touted for being a trusted financial advisor and advocate for BCH.
Baptists on Mission – Billy and Ann Layton
Billy and Ann Layton
Mission involvement for Billy and Ann Layton began with the first disaster relief training in 1992. They responded the same year following Hurricane Andrew in Florida. Since that time, the Laytons have volunteered in at least seven out-of-state disasters and multiple locations in North Carolina following hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. They also assisted with the renovation of Red Springs Mission Camp.
Billy and Ann have served as disaster relief site coordinators in five locations: Colerain, N.C.; Salvo, N.C.; Seaside Heights, N.J.; Johnsonville, S.C.; and currently in Lumberton, N.C., following Hurricane Matthew. Billy is a Blue Hat team leader in recovery shower and laundry, and Ann is a Blue Hat team leader in child care as well as a member of the disaster relief administration advisory council.
The Laytons have also served as assistant camp managers at the Pu’u Kahea Baptist Conference Center in Hawaii. Keeping this camp operational is a part of our National Hawaii Partnership ministry with Baptists on Mission, also known as N.C. Baptist Men. They served three years as volunteer mobile dental unit host/hostess and driver. From Nashville, N.C., they are active members at Momeyer Baptist Church in Nashville. The couple was in the manufactured housing industry before selling their business in 2010. Billy is a former president of the Momeyer Ruritan Club. They have two sons and a daughter, along with two grandsons.
Baptist State Convention of North Carolina – Richard M. Holbrook
Richard M. Holbrook
As a high school and college student, Rick Holbrook looked forward to his summers at the North Carolina Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell. The son of a Baptist minister, Holbrook served in the cafeteria, as a lifeguard and on the boys’ summer staff, never imagining that he would one day direct the camp.
Fifteen years later, however, Holbrook accepted that very role. Under his leadership, the once primarily summer facility has moved to offering programs year round.
His tenure has provided much-needed stability to build the camp financially and physically.
Today, about 40,000 yearly guests visit Caswell for events ranging from summer youth weeks to homeschool trips and environmental stewardship classes.
Throughout his 32 years, he has found joy in seeing people appreciate Caswell as well as witnessing the growth of the staff members. It has become a place where many decisions are made to follow Christ. Holbrook maintains that through it all, God deserves the glory for His work at Caswell. He and his wife, Kathryn, live on Oak lsland. They have two adult children.
Biblical Recorder – Gerald K. Stephens
Born and raised in Pickens County, S.C., Gerald “Jerry” Stephens began working in the cemetery business in 1960 and has continued in this calling through his ownership of cemeteries and related companies in several states, including Burke Memorial Park in Morganton, Cemetery Funeral Supply in Monroe and Star Granite Company in Elberton, Ga.
He was elected president of the Southern Cemetery Association, twice president of the North Carolina Cemetery Association and chairman of the North Carolina Cemetery Commission. He has served on national and international boards related to his business.
As a member of First Baptist Church of Morganton for 40 years, he served in many leadership roles including Sunday School superintendent, trustee and deacon. In 2009, Jerry and his wife, Jean, helped plant Journey Church in Morganton. Their strong involvement in the small mission church was a significant part of the eventual merger with an established congregation, Calvary Baptist Church, in 2014. They actively serve in the new congregation, Summit Community Church.
The Stephens’ generous support of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary led to the naming of a building in their honor in October 1999. Today Stephens-Mackie Hall houses faculty offices. He is a charter member of the seminary’s Board of Visitors and served a term as the board’s president. Stephens served as moderator of the Catawba River Baptist Association and on several committees of the association. He has been a member of board of trustees of the Baptist Retirement Homes of North Carolina and the board of directors of the Biblical Recorder. He was president of the Recorder board in 2016.
Campbell University – Bob and Pat Barker
Bob and Pat Barker
Since 1972, the Bob Barker Company has grown from a small business that supplied food service equipment to jails to the nation’s largest detention supplier. The company has placed values and philanthropy at the core of its principles.
ln 2009, the Barker family created the Bob Barker Foundation, which works directly with nonprofits and governmental entities to reduce recidivism (tendency of a convicted criminal to recommit a crime). Each year, l0 percent of the company’s profits match employee contributions to nonprofits and church ministries and funds the Foundation.
ln 2014, the company matched more than $75,000 in team member contributions, packed more than 15,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now and partnered with Angel Tree to provide Christmas gifts to children on behalf of their incarcerated parents. Since 2009, the foundation has awarded more than $1 million to community-based projects to provide services and programs to reduce recidivism.
Bob Barker is a 1965 graduate of Campbell University where he and Pat have had major roles in campus projects: Bob Barker Residence Hall, Pat Barker Residence Hall and Barker-Lane Stadium. He was a newspaper editor before becoming mayor of the Town of Apex in 1972 and a North Carolina state senator in 1974. He currently serves as CEO and chairman of the board for the Bob Barker Company.
Pat Barker earned a degree in chemistry from the University of South Carolina and her master’s in organic chemistry and master’s in business administration from Duke University. She gave up her chemist position at Almay in 1977 to join her husband at Bob Barker Company. She was senior vice president throughout the years and was involved with purchasing, catalog, accounting and operations.
Chowan University – Julian R. Mills Sr.
Julian R. Mills Sr.
Julian R. Mills Sr. (class of 1959) serves his alma mater as a trustee and as a champion for the Chowan Christian Service Association (CCSA). He is a founding member of CCSA and former board president. Julian and his wife, Mary, were one of the first to create endowed CCSA scholarships for students. His passion for CCSA comes from his desire to assist students and to keep his beloved school connected to her Christian roots.
While serving as CCSA president, Mills helped the board to expand its impact in 2012 by creating a Missions Endowment to provide mission trip scholarships for Campus Ministry.
Thanks to Mills and other faithful association members, the CCSA scholarship and missions endowment has grown to $1.7 million and served 132 students.
Mills’ cheerleading for CCSA is reflective of his own call to the ministry. He was a bi-vocational pastor while he served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years. Each relocation gave Mills and his wife the opportunity to pastor and plant churches. Upon retirement from the Air Force, this decorated veteran returned to North Carolina and pastored five churches. He tried to “retire” from the ministry but the call to help churches led him to eight interim pastorates.
Mills also has a heart for serving N.C. Baptists, having served as the interim director of the North Roanoke Baptist Association and two terms as chairman of the Committee on Nominations for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
The couple has been married nearly 57 years. They reside in their hometown of Roanoke Rapids. They have three adult children and six grandchildren. One son, Julian R. Mills Jr., is deceased.
Thad R. Dowdle
Fruitland Baptist Bible College – Thad R. Dowdle
Thad Dowdle, a North Carolina Baptist, has devoted himself to teaching the Bible for many years. He served as pastor of various churches in North Carolina as well as a revival speaker for many years. He has also taught (and is currently teaching) hermeneutics and pastoral ministry at Fruitland Baptist Bible College (FBBC).
He also served as vice president of academics at FBBC.
Dowdle’s devotion to biblical preaching and teaching men and women to interpret the Bible makes him a very important part of the history of Baptists in North Carolina.
Gardner-Webb University – Randy Marion
Randy Marion is president of Randy Marion Chevrolet-Buick-Cadillac and Randy Marion Subaru, both located in Mooresville, N.C.; Randy Marion Buick-GMC in Huntersville; Randy Marion Chevrolet of Statesville; Randy Marion Ford Lincoln in Statesville; and Randy Marion Sav-a-Lot in Hickory.
He has had a broad array of professional and community involvements. He is past chairman and current member of the National Dealer Council for Commercial Vehicles with General Motors and also currently serves on the National Dealer Council for Chevrolet. In addition, Marion has served on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Auto Dealers Association.
He has received several awards, including the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest award given to a resident of North Carolina by the governor, and Business Person of the Year by both the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce and Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce. Gardner-Webb University (GWU) awarded him an honorary doctorate, and Marion currently serves as a member of GWU’s Board of Trustees and treasurer.
He and his wife, Betty, live in Mooresville and have two children and six grandchildren. They attend Williamson’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Mooresville. The family supports several local charitable and religious organizations.
Mars Hill University – Worth Emory
For 50 years, bi-vocational Pastor Worth Emory, who has enjoyed one of the longest pastorates in North Carolina history, has challenged members of lvy Hill Baptist Church to look beyond their local Weaverville horizon. This year, the congregation made its 37th consecutive annual mission trip to Honduras. In recent years, members have traveled to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Canada and the American West. Emory made trips for 30 years before surgery limited his travel. He was a carpenter by trade.
Through the years, Emory and Ivy Hill have welcomed Mars Hill University (MHU) students to go on mission trips and to be involved in the local church. While he is not an alumnus, his three daughters have graduated from MHU.
Emory has taken seminary extension classes through MHU as well.
North Carolina Baptist Foundation – William “Bill” Scott Lucas
William "Bill" Scott Lucas
Bill Lucas served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as a plank sailor and machinist mate 2nd class. He spent his adult life as an educator, teaching agriculture. He is involved in his local church as a Sunday School teacher, deacon chair, moderator and trustee.
An Oak Island resident, Lucas displays photographs of his Navy time as well as numerous pictures of family, including his three children and his grandchildren.
He has honored his late wife, Hazel Whittaker Lucas, with an endowment that benefits missions work through his church.
“I can’t go on mission trips now, but I can give so others can,” Lucas said. “I am so proud of our endowment that will help spread the [g]ospel until Jesus returns.”
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center – Edwin L.Welch lr.
Ed Welch has served on the North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Boards during considerable change, both in governance and in response to the rapidly changing world of health care.
He serves on the Hospice and Palliative Care Center Board and formerly served on the Board of the Children’s Home, including as chair. He has chaired both the United Way Campaign and the United Way Board of Directors and was the 2006 recipient of the United Way Volunteer of the Year for the State of North Carolina.
He has received other community, social and education awards. He has served on the Forsyth Tech Board of Trustees, where he is the immediate past chairman; and he serves on the Forsyth Tech Foundation Board and is a co-chair of the current Forsyth Tech Foundation Capital Campaign. He and his wife, Sue, are members of Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem. They have three children and nine grandchildren.
Wingate University – Dr. Paul Bennett Little Jr.
Paul Bennett Little Jr.
Paul Little graduated from Wingate University (WU) with his associate of arts degree in 1968.
Following Wingate, Little received his bachelor of arts from North Carolina State University in 1970, his physician’s assistant degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1972, and his doctor of medicine degree from East Carolina University in 1985.
Little is a retired U.S. Army colonel. During his time in the armed forces, he served on the staff of the Army Surgeon General in Washington, D.C., at the Pentagon and was the first medical editor at the Department of Defense Media Center.
He has remained active in his community with the Anson County Historical Society, the North Carolina Forest Association, the Anson County Voluntary Agricultural District and the First Baptist Church in Wadesboro. He was also involved in his church choir.
He also assisted in the organization and construction of the Gulledge Volunteer Fire Department.
Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina – Ruby Ann Jones Fulbright
Ruby Ann Jones Fulbright
As a young woman, Ruby Fulbright answered God’s call to career missions joining her husband, Ellis G. Fulbright, as an International Mission Board (then Foreign Mission Board) missionary appointed to Zambia, Africa, where they served for 16 years.
Following their return to the United States, she became active in Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), volunteering in her church, community and association.
She has led Acteens, served as her church WMU director and helped with the WMU of North Carolina’s resource team.
She has led prayer retreats and spoken at a variety of events. She has served in Alexander and South Roanoke churches and associations as well as on her church committee for community shelters and participated in a Habitat for Humanity project.
She has served as president of WMU-NC and later as executive director-treasurer. When she was state president, she also served as vice president of National WMU.
She has gone on mission trips to Brazil, East Africa, South Africa, Myanmar, Lebanon, Armenia, Massachusetts, New York, Alaska, Hawaii and Ohio.
After her retirement from WMU-NC, Fulbright has been active with the Baptist World Alliance as vice president for networking, leadership and mentoring with the women’s department. She and her husband live in Newton and attend East Maiden Baptist Church in Maiden. They have three adult children and five grandchildren.