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Top ‘stars’ chosen to represent Wilson

Kimberly Jordan kjordan@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 15, 2015 at 2:14 PM

Two of Wilson County’s “stars” will represent the community on the state level at the annual Governor’s Volunteer Star Awards dinner in Nashville.

Greg Armstrong was named the adult winner Monday. Armstrong is a teacher at Friendship Christian School and an avid marathon runner.

His love of running led to helping one of his students, Alex Johnson, fulfill a goal of crossing the finish line at the annual Sherry’s Run in Lebanon. Johnson has skeletal dysplasia, a condition that confines him to a wheelchair most of the time. Armstrong trained “Team Alex” to assist him in the 5K until the last few yards, which Johnson finished under his own power.

Armstrong also organized the Run4Water, which raises funds to install water purification systems in Tennessee, Honduras and Haiti.

The youth winner, Katlin Diane Dickson, was also announced Monday. She is a student at Tennessee Tech University, where she has held numerous on-campus volunteer positions.

She is involved in volunteer efforts in Wilson County, including serving on the Relay for Life Committee and volunteering at Wilson County Quality Care Nursing Home. This volunteer effort helped her earn a nursing assistant license.

While serving as Fairest of the Fair in 2010-11, Dickson met a young lady who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The young lady told her “I want to be a princess, just like you,” which lead her to help develop the special needs pageant in Wilson County during the Wilson County Fair.

The pageant is now an annual event and won first place at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions in Las Vegas.

All award nominees were given a certificate during a banquet Jan. 14, thanking them for their volunteer spirit. Both Armstrong and Dickson will go on to the state banquet and be recognized in March.

The other nominees for 2014 were Abigail Wright, Austyn Walls, Brianna Garvin, CASA volunteers, Chol Wal Rambang, Deborah Pare, Emma Eck, Mary Holden, Reagan Jennings, Tina Winfree, Valentine Vastola, Veronica Mallicoat and the Wilson County Archives volunteers.

“It takes people like you to make this county what it is,” said Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto to the nominees and their families.

Representing Volunteer Tennessee, the organization that organizes the awards, Zanquetta Gray said it was “my pleasure to be here and thank you for your service to Tennessee.” She said the volunteer spirit of the Volunteer State is exemplified in the “tireless and dedicated service” of the nominees.

Wilson County awards coordinator Ken Sweeney said, “we take this opportunity to honor all the nominees and provide a tangible opportunity to recognize volunteers and what they provide.”

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