By William Holloman
The prestigious Distinguished Service Award presented annually at the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce/Jaycees awards banquet this year goes to Dr. Ashley Long, a concussion clinic coordinator at the local Family Medicine Center.
“Dr. Long’s tireless dedication to this community,” stated the person who nominated her for the award, “recognizing a need and working to do something about it even though many obstacles were in the way, make her the optimal candidate for the Distinguished Service Award.”
Along with her award recognition, local Jaycees honored five others, including Dr. Long’s husband, Joseph Long, who was recipient of the Outstanding Young Educator of the Year. He is an assistant professor at the University of Mount Olive.
Chamber of Commerce awards went to former Mayor Ray McDonald, Sr., the Men of FIC (Faith, Integrity, and Character), Kommunikate Plus, and Susan Cotes-Price, Jaycees honored William Hardy Bryan, Jr. of 620 West Main Street as recipient of the Outstanding Public Servant Award.
Retired University of Mount Olive professor Ken Dilda was honored as the 2018 Senior Citizen of the Year. The Boss of the Year Award went to physical therapy business operator Adam Livengood. Finally, the Outstanding Teenager of the Year Award went to Southern Wayne High School senior Cathryn Jones of Coker Store Road.
The DSA recipient, Dr. Long, moved to Mount Olive five years ago and her nomination form states she realized the disparity in concussion education and care. As an athletic trainer with experience in treating athletes with concussion, her efforts resulted in that specialized service in Wayne and Duplin County School system athletic programs. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training from Wingate University, a Master’s degree in Athletic Training from Ohio University, and a Doctorate in Exercise Science from the University of Mississippi.
“It is Ashley’s personal mission to bring equal access to sports medicine and concussion care to medically underserved areas. Ashley loves sports and wants as many children to participate as safely as possible. She realizes there is nothing more important to than the health of the brain. Ashley works tirelessly in the local school systems, talking to coaches and athletes, educating them on signs of concussion and what warrants close supervision or a trip to the emergency room. She takes it upon herself to follow up with the students after they have been diagnosed with a concussion. She will go out to the school and meet them if transportation is an issue. She checks on their progress when they return to the classroom and the field. This is all as a volunteer, because you can’t bill an insurance company for these services and patients will often go without care if they have to pay out of their pocket,” read her nomination.
She and her husband are parents of two children and attend the First Baptist Church of Mount Olive where she is also involved in a number of programs and activities.
The chamber’s Lillian B. Langley Award to Susan Cotes-Price is awarded to an individual who has dedicated much time and effort to chamber work, as well as making the community a better place to live. Ms. Cotes-Price is a member of the chamber board of directors.
Former Mayor Ray McDonald, Sr. was recipient of the Ruff Huggins Lifetime Community Service Award. Current Mayor Joe Scott accepted the award for McDonald, who was out of state.
Men of FIC received the Moses E. King Contributions to the Community Award. The group’s mission is to provide a community base of Christian men working to provide spiritual and physical support to uplift the community of Wayne County and surrounding areas.
And, the Spirit of the Chamber Award went to Kommunikate Plus, a downtown district business that opened its doors to house the chamber operation while the chamber office underwent renovation. Recognized were Sonya Rose Dunn, Michelle Honeycutt, and Katie Dissinger.