ROSES to Ellen Perry, Carrboro's ubiquitous and tireless crusader for people with disabilities.The North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities last month awarded Perry the 2008 Jack Hefner Award. The award, named for former council member Jack Hefner, goes to "an individual who has made significant contributions to enhancing quality of life for North Carolinians with developmental disabilities."Perry certainly qualifies. If you spend any time at all in Carrboro, you've seen her. She gets everywhere in her motorized wheelchair, her flags waving overhead. She has long been a fixture not only around town but in Town Hall, where she served as leader of the Carrboro Transportation Advisory Board. On more occasions than you can count she has brought issues of accessibility and inclusion to the attention of the Board of Aldermen, including a successful effort to get automatic door openers installed at Town Hall and the Century Center.At the state level, she has served on numerous groups and councils, including the Council on Developmental Disabilities, and she was a key figure in advancing a self-determination resolution in North Carolina.
ROSES to Sharon Roggenbuck, 69, who this weekend will participate in her 20th New Bern Multiple Sclerosis ride.The MS ride isn't exactly a quick zip around town; it's a two-day, 200-mile event to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Roggenbuck, who lives in Hillsborough and competes in triathlons in the U.S. and elsewhere, has becomes one of the MS Society's biggest donors.And what spurred her to begin this inspirational, decades-long effort? Did she have a family member with MS? A close friend? Nope. When she began doing the ride 20 years ago, she didn't know anybody with MS. It just sounded like a good cause, and it seemed like it might be fun. So she signed up.And she's kept on signing up ever since. As good as she is at riding -- and running and swimming -- she may be even better at fundraising. She has raised $10,000 in donations for the MS ride in each of the last four years, all of it in the form of individual donations of $250 or less.She shows no signs of slowing down at all; in fact, she's recently taken up a new hobby in addition to the triathlons and marathon bike rides: dancing.
ROSES to Stacy Harris Koon, who was recently named one of "100 Extraordinary Women" in a project by the Kraft company, maker of Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs. The list honors women whose everyday work benefits their families and communities in extraordinary ways.Koon and her sister, Jill Woody, are advocates for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and do other work independently to try to prevent drinking and driving in North Carolina. They became involved in that effort after their mother, Faye Coleman, was killed in a wreck caused by a drunk driver on N.C. 86 in January 2006.Koon and the other women selected for the honor will be featured in articles in People and In Style magazines next month.