Victoria Roberts among those honored by The Rotary Club of Asheville

Submitted by Elisabeth on Thu, 05/30/2024 - 9:49am

We were thrilled to learn that our teammate, Victoria Roberts was honored by The Asheville Rotary Club for her volunteer work with Read to Succeed

As United Way's Associate Director of Data & Evaluation, Victoria has facilitated many local, regional, and national discussions that support youth and their academic success. But her work with Read to Succeed, which includes service as their board chair, allows her to experience a deeper connection with local youth. 

Press release from Rotary Club of Asheville:

Eight Asheville area community leaders have been selected as “People of Action” by the Rotary Club of Asheville, bringing a spotlight to their exemplary efforts in improving the community. The honorees are a wide-ranging group, involved in fields ranging from public safety and healthcare to the environment and literacy.

Their contributions to the Asheville community will be celebrated at the Rotary Club of Asheville’s s inaugural Heroes Hoorah Gala on Thursday, May 16 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Downtown Asheville.

Aligning with Rotary International’s seven focus areas, the Heroes Hoorah Gala will recognize individuals who embody the organization’s “Service Above Self” philosophy within the Asheville area and around Western North Carolina. These heroes align with Rotary’s vision to take action and create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

Community heroes being honored in seven categories are:

Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution: Chief Michael Lamb, Asheville Police Department. 

Chief Lamb has worked his way through the ranks at APD from patrol officer to chief, a position he accepted in early 2024. He is credited with fostering improved communication between law enforcement and local residents, nonprofits and businesses to create a more peaceful community.

Basic Education and Literacy: Victoria Roberts, Read to Succeed. 

Roberts, a servant leader who wants young people to have the best opportunities and outcomes, is president of the Read to Succeed Asheville/Buncombe board of directors. Roberts, who works as Associate Director of Data & Evaluation for United Way Asheville and Buncombe County, has spent countless hours helping Read to Succeed grow in the community. The nonprofit’s mission is to help close the race-based opportunity gap through community-powered literacy programming that engages children, their families, and community partners.

Disease Prevention and Treatment: Dr. Joel Callahan, UNC Health Pardee Hospital.

As Chief of Staff for UNC Health Pardee, Dr. Callahan personally administered the first dose of Lecanemab, a newly approved FDA drug for Alzheimer’s Disease, making UNC Health Pardee the first healthcare organization in Western North Carolina to offer the drug. He has also been instrumental in revitalizing UNC Health Pardee Hospital’s stroke program, which has been ranked #1 in North Carolina for Stroke Care, part of a facility that has been named one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for a second consecutive year.

Water Sanitation and Hygiene: Renee Fortner, RiverLink.

As Water Resources Manager at RiverLink, Fortner led RiverLink’s development of the central Asheville Watershed Assessment, creating the potential for significant grant funding to address water quality and stream impairment issues. Most recently, she led the Southside Community Stormwater Project in an area near the Asheville Housing Authority’s Erskine Apartments, which provided significant water quality and drainage improvements for residents.

Maternal and Child Health: Trish Hickling Beckman, Asheville Women’s Wellness and Education Center.

Beckman, a certified nurse midwife, has delivered thousands of babies in homes, hospitals, and birthing centers. As co-owner of Asheville’s Women’s Wellness and Education Center, she offers education, support and counseling for moms-to-be so that the birthing process is a positive and empowering experience.

Economic and Community Development: Matthew Bacoate, Jr.

Bacoate’s contributions to Western North Carolina are immeasurable. He is recognized with being a major factor in helping Asheville businesses integrate and in enlisting investors to start AFRAM, Asheville’s first Black-owned and operated manufacturing company. His advocacy for small businesses resulted in the establishment of the North Carolina Small Business Advocacy Council, showcasing his commitment to strengthening businesses statewide.

Supporting the Environment: Ken Brame and Judy Mattox, Sierra Club.

This duo works to protect our environment through leadership in the Sierra Club. Their efforts include protecting wild places and endangered species, keeping our air and water clean, ensuring a clean energy future, and working to curb climate change.

“We’re thrilled to honor these eight community heroes, whose actions have created lasting positive change in our community that are aligned with Rotary International’s focus areas,” said Pat Snyder, President of the Rotary Club of Asheville. “The Heroes Hoorah Gala gives us the opportunity to honor their work and highlight their accomplishments, and we look forward to making this an annual event.”

Guests will enjoy an evening filled with music, drinks, light tasting food, and desserts prepared by local chefs, all supporting the Rotary Club of Asheville Foundation. Funds raised will contribute to projects such as providing local scholarships, recognizing teachers and first responders, protecting the French Broad watershed, supporting local food security initiatives, and international medical, dental, optical, and literacy projects in Guatemala, Honduras, and Argentina.

About the Rotary Club of Asheville:

The Rotary Club of Asheville is a service club of engaged and passionate members who desire to do good in the community and world while honoring shared ethics and core values. The club, which has over 165 members from a wide range of backgrounds, finds ways to help the community at local, national, and international levels. This can involve anything from doing volunteer projects overseas to finding ways to support nonprofits in Asheville and Buncombe County. For more information, visit Rotary Asheville.