HAMLET — Richmond County Schools honored its “everyday heroes,” Jeff Estridge of the maintenance department and Debbie Blake of the transportation department, on Tuesday night.
Schools spokeswoman Mallory Brown presented each hero with a gift bag full of items donated from local sponsors.
“These awards are to recognize people who work behind the scenes and often go unnoticed,” Brown said. “To Jeff Estridge for his dedication to top-notch maintenance throughout the county, for his years of serving as our administrative manager in maintenance. And to Debbie Blake for her service making sure our buses keep going every day.”
Estridge and Blake received certificates from the school district along with their gift bags, and Superintendent Dr. Cindy Goodman and Board Chairman Wiley Mabe stepped down and personally shook their hands.
The gift bags were a combination of the generosity of local businesses and Brown’s community outreach efforts. The contents of the bags consisted of gifts to treat everything from a sweet tooth to exercise.
“There are gift certificates, coupons, gift cards and food,” Brown said. “Dairy Queen gave them cake certificates. Richmond Pines gave them 18 holes and I think she gave them something on the driving range. She did a lot. I’ll go out in the community and seek some more as the year goes by.”
Gifts were also donated by Maness Tire, Pizza Inn, Smithfield’s Chicken and Barbecue, Rick and Al’s Car Wash, Richmond Senior High School Athletics and Fatz Cafe.
Brown also said this year’s “Stuff the Bus” drive for donations of school supplies was a noteworthy success.
“Stuff the Bus went really well this year,” Brown said. “We had a lot of churches get involved and Freedom Fitness had a book bag drive. We got around 100 book bags from them. There was a great need for book bags last year, so we’re very happy to be able to distribute those this year. It’s very good to see the community get involved.”
Any local businesses interested in sponsoring these awards should contact Mallory Brown at 910-582-5860.
Reach reporter Melonie Flomer at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @melonieflomer.