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May  16, 2013
Four recognized with Presidential Partnership awards at HCC
WELDON, N.C. – Halifax Community College (HCC) President Dr. Ervin V. Griffin Sr. recognized recipients of the seventh annual Presidential Partnership Award during commencement exercises, May 11. The award recognizes organizations and individuals who assist HCC in fulfilling its mission.

Angel's Closet, Congressman G.K. Butterfield, Halifax County Economic Development Commission and Regeneration Development Group Inc. were presented the award for their commitment and partnership in developing education, workforce and economic development programs in the Roanoke Valley.

About the Recipients
The Angel's Closet ministry was founded seven-and-a-half years ago at an empty classroom at the old Medlin Elementary School during Gilbert Portela's employment with the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District. One of his responsibilities with the school system took him into the homes of some of the students. This gave him a first-hand look at the poverty and living conditions of some of the children. The ministry has grown to the point that Angel's Closet recently purchased an 11,000 square feet building located at 47 Highway 158 in Roanoke Rapids.

Since all of Angel's Closet's workers are volunteers, every penny of monetary donations is used to assist the many children and families in the area who lack economic resources and are doing without things we sometimes take for granted. Although initially the ministry was to help those in the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District, due to the continued growth, Angel's Closet reaches out to families all over the counties of Halifax, Northampton, Warren, Bertie and Greensville County, Virginia. Referrals come from the Department of Social Services, Choanoke Area Development Association, mental health organizations, health departments, churches, schools and the community at large.

Thanks to the many donations from individuals, families, organizations, churches and businesses in the area, in 2012, Angel's Closet provided assistance to 1,710 families with 2,731 children with free clothes, shoes, food, toys, blankets, linens, kitchen items, furniture, etc. This past Christmas, 1,161 children received toys, books, stuffed animals, clothes and shoes. Angel's Closet uses monetary donations to assist children with anything related to their education. For example, during the 2011-12 school year, Angel's Closet awarded eleven $1,000 college scholarships to 2012 graduating seniors from each of the area's public and private high schools and also awarded 15 one-year scholarships to needy children to attend the Boys and Girls Club. Angel's Closet also assisted more than 750 students with classroom academic field trips and paid for cap and gown rentals for nine graduating seniors.

Congressman G. K. Butterfield is a life-long resident of eastern North Carolina.  Born and raised in Wilson, Congressman Butterfield spent his formative years attending Charles H. Darden High School and worked tirelessly in the Civil Rights Movement as a youth.  His parents were Dr. & Mrs. G. K. Butterfield, Sr.  His father practiced dentistry for 50 years and served as the first black elected official in Wilson since reconstruction.  His mother was a teacher for 48 years.

Congressman Butterfield graduated from college and law school at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina.  After earning his law degree, Congressman Butterfield founded a law practice in Wilson and served the community in that capacity for 14 years.  He is best known for his successful litigation of voting rights cases that resulted in the election of African-American elected officials.

In 1988, Congressman Butterfield was elected as Resident Superior Court judge.  In this role, he presided over civil and criminal court in 46 counties of North Carolina.  For two years, he served on the North Carolina Supreme Court by appointment of the governor.  Butterfield retired from the judiciary after 15 years of service and successfully ran for Congress.  He was elected to serve the First District of North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election on July 20, 2004, where he continues to serve today.

In Congress, Butterfield is a champion of affordable medical care, education, investments in rural communities, veterans, renewable energies, and federal programs that support low-income and middle-class Americans.

Butterfield serves in the Democratic leadership as Chief Deputy Whip and as First Vice-Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.  He sits on the influential Committee on Energy & Commerce as the 8th most senior Democrat on the Health Subcommittee.  In addition, he serves as a member of the subcommittees of Commerce, Manufacturing & Trade, and Oversight and Investigations.

Congressman Butterfield is a life-long member of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church.  He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a proud father and grandfather.

Congressman Butterfield has been a great friend to HCC. In 2009, he announced a federal appropriation of $190,000 for the college's Nursing/Allied Health Expansion Project that created a state-of-the-art, on-site Human Patient Simulator Lab for the training of nursing students in a virtual clinic setting. In 2010, Congressman G.K. Butterfield announced a federal appropriation of $148,500 for the college's Allied Health technology upgrades. The 2010 appropriation was used to equip two lecture halls with audio, visual, and distance education upgrades to provide allied health students and professionals in the community with a significantly increased number and quality of training and continuing educational opportunities.

The Halifax County Economic Development Commission is a twelve-member advisory board with a mission to support the creation of new jobs and investment in Halifax County and its municipalities as well as the retention and expansion of Halifax County's existing business and industry.

The Commission's offices are housed at the Halifax County Visitors Center located at 260 Premier Boulevard, adjacent to Interstate 95.

Halifax County Economic Development Commission provides confidential support for new and expanding business and industry development.

In the past four years, the Commission has worked to support more than 925 announced new jobs and $183 million in new capital investment. Additionally, the Commission has secured more than $22 million in state, federal, and other grant funds to support economic development in Halifax County.

Regeneration Development Group, Inc. has developed successful partnerships with agencies, businesses, churches and other not-for- profit organizations that span from Maryland to North Carolina.  The organization offers a hand up – not handouts. Regeneration's goal is to help individuals and families to develop an attitude of self-reliance, as well as develop a sense of pride and self-confidence that will enable them to lead a more productive lifestyle.  This will also cause them to become productive citizens ready and willing to give back to the community in which they live. The non-profit organization serves people of all races, creeds and religions. Regeneration supports fellow citizens and serves as a guiding light. Regeneration's mission is to develop programs that promote development of human resources, community revitalization, and the development of projects that provide housing and economic rehabilitation to low income and at risk populations.    

Regeneration has teamed up with employers and service providers across southern Halifax County and the larger region to better understand the needs of the employer-customers of the workforce system as well as how to partner more effectively with other organizations to meet the needs of the unemployed and underemployed customers.

As the economy strengthens, Regeneration has become the primary resource in the Scotland Neck community for Career Readiness Certification and Job Readiness Instruction.  This curriculum includes one-on-one coaching and mentoring for youth and adult students to enable them to gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes that employers demand.

When members of the community expressed interest in becoming nurse aides, Phyllis Chavis and the Regeneration Development Group collaborated with Halifax Community College and enrolled 10 students in their Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) program in 2011 at the Scotland Neck site. Upon completion of the program, eight members of the class of 10 who sat for the NC State CNA Certification Boards successfully passed on the first attempt. 

Since establishing this partnership with Halifax Community College and the North Carolina Rural Center in 2011, 52 participants have graduated from the CNA program; 42 of them have been certified by the NC State CNA Certification Board; 38 of the 42 have been placed in new jobs and 10 of them have received promotions and/or increased their wages with their current employer.
Gilbert Portela of Angel’s Closet, right, with HCC President Dr. Ervin V. Griffin Sr.
Congressman G.K. Butterfield, right, with HCC President Dr. Ervin V. Griffin Sr.
Cathy Scott of Halifax County Economic Development Commission, right, with HCC President Dr. Ervin V. Griffin Sr.
Phyllis Chavis of Regeneration Development Group Inc., right, with HCC President Dr. Ervin V. Griffin Sr.
Halifax Community College's Mission
Halifax Community College strives to meet the diverse needs of our community by providing high-quality, accessible and affordable education and services for a rapidly changing and globally competitive marketplace.
Primary Media Contact: Melanie Temple, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, mtemple295@halifaxcc.edu, 252-538-4319

Secondary Media Contact: Dr. Dianne Rhoades, Interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Halifax Community College and Interim Executive Director of the Halifax Community College Foundation Inc., dbarnes-rhoades128@halifaxcc.edu, 252-536-7239