Raleigh’s News & Observer revealed its 2018 Tar Heel of the Year Dec. 29.
Richard Brunson, executive director-treasurer of North Carolina Baptists on Mission (NCBM), was among the finalists, along with William J. Barber, Rihannon Giddens, Jaki Shelton Green and William Lewis.
Barber, who led the state’s Moral Monday rallies as the leader of the North Carolina NAACP, was named the 2018 Tar Heel of the Year. Nominations for the honor came from readers. The newspaper usually relies on staff nominations for the recognition, which started in 1997.
Brunson has led NCBM since 1992 and has been integral in disaster response in North Carolina and beyond.
“God is a good God, and I think God wants us to be working for good in other people’s lives,” Brunson said in his interview with the paper.
Giddens is a Grammy Award winner and a recipient of the 2017 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” fellowship. Green is North Carolina’s poet laureate, and Lewis is the executive director of PineCone.